Funds will help CIS Richmond provide direct emergency food assistance to students and families in crisis throughout eastern Henrico.
RICHMOND, VA — May 15, 2020 — Earlier this week, Pocahontas Parkway provided a $20,000 grant to Communities In Schools of Richmond to assist with the organization’s emergency food assistance outreach in eastern Henrico Co.
“There are a lot of families in our corner of eastern Henrico who are struggling more than ever with basic day-to-day needs due to the COVID-19 situation,” said William Muse, CFO of Pocahontas Parkway. “When we learned how CIS of Richmond’s Emergency Food Assistance program was directly helping those families and students, we knew we had to assist with their mission.”
As the local affiliate of the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school, Communities In Schools of Richmond
provides case-managed support to K-12 students in 39 Richmond City and Henrico County high poverty neighborhood schools. While the organization typically provides early interventions and educational enrichment opportunities for students, the economic impact created by the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a more pressing crisis for many of the families the organization serves — food insecurity.
“Many of the families we work with are among those most vulnerable in our region, presenting with food scarcity, income, and housing challenges,” said Suzanne Keeley, CIS of Richmond’s Vice President of Development. “These families rely on schools daily for breakfast and lunch, CIS food pantries, and weekend backpacks from FeedMore distributed through CIS. However, as resources become more constrained in the coming weeks, so too will access to food.”
To bridge the gap, CIS of Richmond is building an emergency food response through a distribution of $50 gift cards to local grocery stores. Its team of site coordinators are in touch with families on a daily or weekly basis, including about 600 families in eastern Henrico, many of which are in crisis.
“We are developing a robust referral system as well as identifying the families who are severely constrained through COVID-19 restrictions,” said Keeley. “Our goal is to offer critical support in this emergency situation as we work toward longer term solutions.”
Pocahontas Parkway’s efforts to help families and students in Henrico is part of a global effort by its parent company, Globalvia
, to assist those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.