We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation comprised of Stafford County and the surrounding area residents who battle food insecurity in our community. Working with churches, schools, local businesses, and other non-profits in the region we seek to strategically eliminate hunger in children. As of November 2019, Stafford Food Security is partnered with 66 schools in 4 schools districts and has provided over 15,000 meals to hungry children and families.
Our first endeavor is a childhood backpack meal program with local elementary schools. We collect shelf stable food and pack meals for a family of 4 in non-descript backpacks (matched to school colors) for children to take home to feed their families dinner that night. Teachers identify food insecure children in the classroom, and distribute backpacks to those in need. We collect no personal data on the recipients. There are no income requirements. If a teacher deems the child in need, the child goes home with food. All we need to know is how many backpacks are distributed in a given week, so we can bring more as needed.
We currently support all Stafford County Public Schools.
In 2018 we expanded our service area to include Spotsylvania County! We currently support Berkeley, Cedar Forest, Harrison Road, Lee Hill, Livingston, Parkside, Robert E. Lee, Salem, and Spotswood Elementaries. We are also in Ni River Middle and Courtland High School. We will be adding more schools soon! If we are not in your school, please have your school principal or counselor contact us, and we will happily meet with them to discuss how to bring the program to your school. This service is provided at no cost to the school.
2018 also saw us enter the Fredericksburg City Schools, where we now support Lafayette Elementary and Walker Grant Middle Schools. Next we expanded our coverage area in April of 2018 to encompass all King George County Schools to include King George, Sealston, and Potomac Elementary as well as King George Middle and High Schools!
Stafford Food Security partners with local organizations like Stafford Junction and The Heartwood Center to provide nutritious meals to students this summer. Many children are dependent on the free and reduced school lunch programs. When school is not in session, they may not get a meal that day. We have provided over 600 meals during the summer of 2017. In 2018 and 2019, we continued to partner with Stafford Junction and Heartwood. In 2018 and 2019 we partnered with the Rappahannock Area YMCA to feed kids in Stafford County. In conjunction with the educational opportunities provided to children through the YMCA Power Scholars Academy program, Stafford Food Security provide daily hot lunches to an average of 80 kids for five weeks each summer.
In March of 2018, in an effort to expand our reach to families in need by partnering with the Office of the Stafford County Sheriff. Our backpack meals are now stocked in patrol cars, ready to be distributed to families when deputies see a need.
In addition to our primary backpack program, we hope to support other child-hunger initiatives in Stafford County. There are several small programs operating in different schools to meet different needs. Our goal is to identify all of these programs, catalog them, and find the gaps in food provision that need to be filled. We will use collected funds to support these existing programs as we are able. Our objective is a cohesive, nested, collaborative strategy to feed children without waste and duplication of effort.
Our enterprise is funded solely through donations from churches, businesses, and generous individuals. We partner with local youth groups, businesses, booster clubs, churches, and schools to collect and fill our backpacks.