In November, Matrix Human Services partnered with Atlas Wholesale Food Company, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, and Renaissance Head Start to fill a need that many of our Head Start families were missing – food.
Our Head Start families used to count on the opportunity to drop their children off at our Head Start centers where they would receive two meals and a snack every school day. But when the 2020-2021 school year began, no one knew if in-person early childhood education would be possible while maintaining health and safety during the Coronavirus pandemic.
As the fall progressed and cases began to rise again, Head Start centers across the region closed for in-person learning but virtual learning continued at Matrix Human Services while kids stayed home with their families. As a result, parents had to provide meals for their children during the workday that were once covered by Head Start. Some families were already experiencing financial hardship or even hunger before the pandemic started, so their need for assistance was clear.
That is why we have been so grateful to create this partnership with Atlas Wholesale Food Company, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, and Renaissance Head Start. At a time when some families are expressing a serious need to our family advocates, this partnership has been crucial to making sure none of our families go hungry.
Up to 650 families were receiving regular donations of free quality food including meats, fruits, and veggies that they could order online and then pick-up by driving through a designated Head Start parking lot so volunteers could distribute the food into their car. By the end of 2020, around 3,250 meals were distributed along with cleaning supplies and protective equipment.
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While Victoria was waiting in line for food with her son at our Samaritan Head Start Center, we had a chance to ask her what the food distribution means to her.
“My name is Victoria and this program is very helpful to me due to the pandemic. I’m very thankful for this program.”