Providing A Safety Net For U.S. School Districts

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Providing A Safety Net For U.S. School Districts

By Hoda Emam
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Moms Against Poverty has provided a consistent safety net of support for the Castro Valley School District. “Knowing that we have this wonderful resource twice a month gives us this sense of security,” said Nancy Nodal, Community Liaison for the CVUSD.

The school district is located in one of the largest unincorporated townships in the state of California. CVUSD director Nicholas McMaster says, “it’s a unique district, made up of underprivileged and very affluent communities in close proximity,” and “you get exposure to diversity, we have a very representative set of family backgrounds and student backgrounds and socioeconomic backgrounds”.

Essentially, two years ago, the district set up an unofficial family resource center and MAP was one of the first organizations to step up, providing high quality food and hygiene products for homeless and at-risk families. “Not knowing where or how our families will get their next meals weighs heavily on them, and even harder when they have to decide between paying rent or buying food and/or hygiene products,” said Nodal.

MAP’s contributions were possible, through the Nutrition Outreach Program, Hygiene Program and Holiday Helping Hand Program, all to support the partnerships they have with schools, achieving its goal of empowering and improving the lives of impoverished children throughout the United States. Essentially, their work with CVUSD is a perfect example of what a lifeline this can be for a community.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has introduced new hurdles for the school district and resulted in an increase of families depending on community support and resources. “I think we have long suspected that we have a large contingent of families that can just barely make everything work/make ends meet,” said McMaster. “With the employment impact and/or the need to support supervision at home, we are learning that we have many families unable to or struggling to operate”. Thus, emphasizing the importance of consistency when it comes to the support that MAP has provided. Knowing that they can rely on the organization has allowed the school district to set a schedule and advise families about the availability of resources. From adding in a larger distribution of grocery boxes during student vacation periods to providing a full-size freezer and refrigerator. McMaster says, “MAP has steadily adapted to the changing challenges facing his students and their families”.

Lastly, he said, “MAP has consistently looked to expand what we can offer [to the students] and has been adaptable to our needs”. “They are without a doubt one of our strongest supporters”.

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