In an inspiring demonstration of community involvement, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business came together on October 4th, 2023, to address the critical issue of food insecurity in their local community. Leading the charge were Dean Todd Mooradian; the Dean's Leadership Team - Brett Alpert, Ken White, Terry Hinders, Pam Suzadail, Kim Sperling; and dedicated colleagues, Terry Shannon, Director of Corporate Field Consultancy & MBA Coaching, and Brian Baines, Senior Business Services & Human Resources Administrator, all of whom joined forces with theVirginia Peninsula Foodbank.
Their mission was clear: to lend a helping hand by dedicating their morning to a great cause. Together, they packed bags brimming with 'kid-friendly' food items, an essential part of the foodbank's backpack program designed to support local students who depend on school lunch programs for their daily meals. This endeavor carried a personal touch for Terry Shannon, who reminisced about his days as a CEO at a large food bank in Phoenix, reiterating the profound impact of volunteerism and how essential it is to the community at large.
The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank relies on three pillars of support from the community: donations of food and money and the invaluable dedication of volunteers. This trifecta enables the foodbank to distribute sustenance to neighbors in need effectively and efficiently. As they assembled a variety of canned fruits, vegetables, tuna, and entrees into the bags, their thoughts centered on the children who would soon receive these food packages. These nutritious meals could make a world of difference in the lives of those who might otherwise go without, highlighting the profound impact of their efforts.
Adam Jordan, a volunteer coordinator at the Food Bank, played a pivotal role in organizing this meaningful visit. He emphasized the far-reaching nature of food insecurity, extending its grasp beyond those experiencing abject poverty or homelessness to hardworking families struggling with choices between essentials like gas for their vehicles and dinner for their children. With more than 650,000 individuals grappling with food insecurity in Virginia alone, the issue's pervasive nature couldn't be more apparent.
For the day, the William & Mary School of Business team's objective was to assemble over 800 "Food for Kids BackPack" bags, specially tailored to support students who rely heavily on school lunch programs. Under the direction of Jamilah Sargent, BackPack Coordinator extraordinaire, these packs were carefully curated and stuffed to offer nutritious meal options, including a selection of healthy meal items and snacks to brighten the day for young recipients.
反思他们的使命,布莱恩·贝恩斯指出,“It was gratifying to know that the time we contributed would have such a lasting impact on the lives of children in our community." These bags play a vital role in ensuring that students have access to food over the weekends when they can't rely on school lunches. In a region where more than 20,000 children experience food insecurity, the provision of these bags takes on a crucial significance. One dollar, one hour, one can, one meal, one child…it all adds up to make a difference.
Thanks to the unwavering dedication and hard work of the School of Business volunteers, over 800 children across the Virginia Peninsula, encompassing areas like Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, James City County, Gloucester, Mathews, York, Poquoson, and Surry, now have access to meals throughout the weekend. Their efforts significantly alleviate the burden of food insecurity for many young lives, contributing to a healthier and more prosperous community.
The visit to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank serves as a shining example of how community members and academic institutions can unite to immediately impact pressing social issues. The collaborative efforts of the Dean, the Dean's Leadership Team, Terry Shannon, and Brian Baines stand as a testament to the power of collective action in the face of food insecurity, and their dedication has undeniably made a difference in the lives of many local children.
For more information or to get involved, please look to Brian Baines and the administration team for continuing opportunities as the Mason School of Business partners with the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank.