As the director of Cobb Imprint, the charitable arm of Cobb Technologies, a non-profit that assists disadvantaged children in Richmond, Virginia; I witness daily the impact that hunger has on school-aged children. As adults, we are all well aware that having to concentrate and function on an empty stomach is extremely challenging. Our bodies ache, we are fatigued, and our concentration is poor. How in the world do we expect children to sit, learn, and behave accordingly for 6+ hours a day with no food in their bellies?
I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenging task, and this was no exception. Excitedly, I reached out to the Superintendent of Powhatan County schools, a fellow board member for a local non-profit. After I outlined the format of Food Rescue and its mission, he said that he was intrigued and wanted to hear more. A time was scheduled to meet with his high school principal and ROTC program director. It was decided at the meeting that they would plan to trial the program initially at the high school starting in the fall of the 2018-2019 school year. The hope was that it would eventually be brought into the other four county schools.
A few months ago, I met with my good friend and mentor Mark Smith. Mark is a pillar in our community who owns several Midas of Richmond stores. Mark is an outspoken advocate for several non-profits in our area that assist food insecure families, and works tirelessly to bring awareness and support. After meeting for coffee recently, he made mention of two local non-profits and asked if I’d be interested in taking tours of the facilities. It was during the tour of one of these organizations that I met the Executive Director of Goochland Cares, Sally Graham.
Goochland Cares had recently built an impressive 20,000 square foot facility that includes a medical clinic, dental services, domestic abuse counseling and assistance, a thrift store, and a large food pantry. Immediately, I began sharing with her information about the Food Rescue program. I had mentioned that I had been trying to get in front of the Superintendent of Goochland County Public Schools, but to no avail. Sally stated that she knew him and would reach out directly. Shortly thereafter, Sally had scheduled a meeting at the Goochland County School Board with the superintendent and other members of his staff.
I made sure to provide each attendee with a folder outlining Food Rescue’s mission, as well as all the documentation and tools that Food Rescue provides on their website outlining how the program incorporates lessons and skills in the following areas:
- food insecurity awareness/sensitivity
- environmental science
- community service
I felt it was important to reach out to John and let him know how ecstatic I was that Food Rescue would be growing in Virginia! I hope that this will inspire at least one person to reach out to a school in their community and keep the program going. We can make a difference and be the advocates for CHANGE. Keep in mind that we ALL benefit from the outcome.
Andrea Starr, Outreach Director
Direct: 804.823.2891 | Service: 888.242.2622