Read And Feed Covid-19 Community Response Efforts
Since Read and Feed’s office closed in mid-March, we’ve been hard at work constructing how we would bring our mission to life under these new, constrained circumstances. Fortunately, with the aid of volunteers, board members, staff, and community partners, we’ve been able to accomplish quite a bit during this time.
Community Partnerships with Area Businesses
- Papa Murphy’s (4/14-5/1)
- Provided Vouchers for each of our families in need for the Spring 2020 Community Aid Campaign
- Provided free unbaked cheese pizzas for our two summer program sites during the first week of operation (June 16th & 18th), totaling 33 meals
- Barnes and Noble (3/16-present)
- Used their Holiday book drive donation for sanitized book packets that have been distributed for the last month.
- Quail Ridge/ Cary Academy (5/3-5/24)
- Quail Ridge Online Book Drive Sponsored by Sara Martin from Cary Academy. Books were sanitized, packaged, and delivered by Sara Martin.
- State Farm (6/3)
- Two local state farm agents donated $1000 worth of school supplies used in supplying our summer program site students at Maple Ridge and Horseshoe and in continuing to supply books and school supplies for the Sweet Dreams Project through The Green Chair Project.
- Bailey’s Fine Jewelry of Raleigh
- Donation of over $3500
- Leith Toyota
- Nomination for local charity of choice could garner a $500 grant
Community Partnerships with Area Nonprofits
- IFFS (3/16-3/17)
- Provided food for our program sites during the Food Distribution trial run
- Recipient of Read and Feed Donation
- Providing meals for the families in need that are served during the Sweeter Dreams Project in conjunction with The Green Chair Project.
- (6/23-8/7) Providing flash-froze, family style meals for summer program sites on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Maple Ridge Apartments and Horseshoe Mobile Home Park.
- Green Chair Project (3/30, 4/13, 4/29, 5/15, 6/18)
- Sweeter Dreams Project
- Distribution of over 150 bags of 3 new Books/school supply kits with each new bed of 100 beds they will give to community members.
- Read and Feed received a small number of masks in exchange which were given to families in need at FVUMC.
- Reached out to school social workers for second phase involving putting word out to our Read and Feed families that if they are in need of a bed or baby crib, they can fill out an application with The Green Chair Project.
- Sweeter Dreams Project
- Doorway to Hope (June 23-present)
- 4 boxes of grade level books are donated weekly to Doorway to Hope, which includes 1 box of board books for preschools
Community Food Bank Supply Distribution (3/23-3/26)
- A box of approx. 40 sanitized books were delivered to each site just prior to the Stay at Home Order when businesses and organizations were beginning to close. These area food banks remained open for drive through distribution to patrons in need across Wake County. We encouraged them to give our supplies out to children in those families.
- Dreamcoat Ministries
- Universal Outreach
- Tri-Area Ministry Food Pantry
- Knightdale United Methodist
- Juniper Level MBC
- Fuquay Varina Emergency Food Pantry
- Salvation Army Judy D. Zelmank
- Center of Hope
Program Site Food Distribution (3/16-3/17)
Each site received IFFS meals and schools supplies
- Zebulon Boys and Girls Club (received Bojangles, one of their usual food suppliers)
- Grace Bible
- Bethlehem Baptist
- Horseshoe Apartments
- Apex Elementary
- Weatherstone Elementary/HMUC (3/26, 4/3, 4/21, 5/5, 5/18)
- Volunteer/team lead Mary Rose Sefter has a close relationship to families in this neighborhood as she has been volunteering and teaching these students since 2007. We provided sorted & sanitized new books & school supplies which she brought to Maynard Mobile Home Estate students during HUMC food distribution hours.
- Poe Elementary (3/26, 6/5)
- Received 9 boxes of sanitized, new books and school supplies for distribution during Food Serving hours.
- Yates Mill Elementary/Horseshoe Apartments (3/31)
- 4 boxes of sanitized Barnes & Noble new books & school supply kits
- FUMC (4/28)
- 3 boxes of sanitized Barnes & Noble new books & school supply kits
Social Media Blast (3/12-3/27)
- Series of twitter/instagram/facebook posts that pointed our social media audience to our website where we regularly added new tips and tools for stay at home schooling and articles for families in need navigating bills and resources during Stay at Home Order.
Website Resource Bank (Last Refresh 3/23)
- See above
Volunteer Read Alouds (3/30-present)
- Coordinated by our Program and Evaluation Director, Read and Feed tutors have been recording themselves reading classic children’s books, in light of the wave of authors and celebrities that have done so online, and submitting them for upload to our YouTube channel. 10 videos are currently archived for family viewing.
BOD & AC Matching Challenge (3/27-4/1)
- A $5,000 anonymous donation was matched & exceeded by the Board & Advisory Council to put toward grocery store gift cards for Read and Feed families.
Spring 2020 Community Aid Campaign (4/1-4/12)
- Launched through Mailchimp to over 3,000 audience members along with targeted emails to organizational partners and a supporting social media fundraiser to reach $26,000. This would supply each Read and Feed family with a $50 grocery gift card. Over $38,000 was donated and 912 gift cards arrived to our families by mid-May.
Volunteer Zoom Calls (4/23-5/4)
- Program and Evaluation led volunteer check-in calls over the course of two weeks in order to catch volunteers up on Read and Feed Developments and provide an outlet for the volunteers to check in with one another, as they are used to meeting each week.
- Read and Feed network via social media was encouraged to take a photo of their family reading together and then donate $10 so that a Read and Feed child could receive a new book in turn. Enough money was raised to supply 46 students with new books.
Tell Me A Story (5/19 & 5/26)
- Series of Facebook live stories. Initially aired 5/19, 5/26 feat. Linda Gorham, Cary Story-teller, aimed to keep children in both our Read and Feed families and beyond to stay actively engaged in reading while home-bound.
- Nearly 1.5K views currently between the two Facebook archived videos
#KeepKidsReading (5/5 – present)
- Direct Mail and Online Campaign for the coming months to keep kids from falling into the extended summer slide. We are advocating that families at home monitoring our social media share how they are creatively staying healthy and continuing to learn over the summer.
Food Distribution Routes
- Read and Feed adopted mobile classroom bus routes that service pockets of Wake County that are not covered by other Open Food Distribution Sites. We began by taking on one route with a driver and 1-2 volunteers who socially distanced themselves as they deliver flash frozen meals to families in the neighborhoods on the bus routes. We now serve 2 sites a week with 5 volunteers a day.
- Schenley Square Mobile Home Park
- 14,805 Meals distributed between May 13-August 28
- Board Books distribution began June 23rd due to preschool aged children living among residents of the neighborhood
- Brentwood West Apartments
- 3,465 Meals distributed between July 1-August 28
- Hodges Mobile Home Park (June 10 & 12)
- 480 Meals
- Green Pine Mobile Home Park (June 22-present)
- 240 Meals
- Indian Creek Overlook (June 22-present)
- 360 Meals
Book Sorting Volunteers (6/2-8/14)
- Tues & Thurs each week, 4 volunteers between 10am and 2pm socially distance themselves at the Read and Feed Office, sort and sanitize donated books into age appropriate boxes and weed out unusable books so we can distribute them weekly to our summer program sites or community partners in need.
- 16 volunteers have logged 102 hours of sorting
- Over 3,163 books have been donated to the community since the start of the pandemic.
Summer Program Sites (6/16-8/14)
- 33 Horseshoe Mobile Home Park and Maple Ridge Apartments students receive IFFS meals once a week
- 3 books of age appropriate level once a week are given out
- book bags with school supplies were handed out during the first week
- Once a week both sites meet virtually for their tutoring sessions via Zoom
*For Reference: Any Book Kit with School Supplies contained the following – 3 books at a single reading level (ranging from K-5th grade) and supplies such as erasers, pencils, crayons, colored paper, a folder, a pencil sharpener, and a highlighter; all items in the kits were wiped down with Clorox wipes.