Supporting Families in Need During School Closure

Hi all,

I received some wonderful messages from you all asking how we can support families in need, both in the McK community and countywide.

Here’s the information I have in hand. If you have other information or ideas, please email me.

Thanks, Mary

Q: What will happen to the hourly employees who work in/for our schools? (e.g., bus drivers, cafeteria staff, etc.)
A: APS has reported that at this time, it will continue to compensate hourly employees as planned. Other positions, including clinic staff and crossing guards, are employees of Arlington County, which has also confirmed these employees will be paid through this time. 

Q: What will happen to families in our community who can’t pay bills (rent, utilities, etc.) because parents may be temporarily out of work?
A: There is a program called Arlington Thrive which provides emergency funds to low-income families in need in our area. You can donate to this fund at

Q: How can I help McKinley families in need, specifically?
A: The request from our school social workers, counselors, and admin team is this: they would appreciate donations of gift cards, either grocery gift cards or gift cards that function as cash (like a VISA gift card) to help families with bills. You can order one via Amazon Prime and have it mailed directly to me: 901 N McKinley Rd , Arlington VA 22205. Gina Miller will pick them up from me next Monday, 3/23 for distribution.   

You may also/otherwise donate to one of the countywide programs/efforts described elsewhere in this email, or to others you may know about. 

McK’s families in need are encouraged to get in touch with Cherelle Washington, our school social worker, or Maria Montas, McK’s bilingual resource coordinator.

Q: How can families in need access food?
A: There are a number of ways you can support families’ access to food, above and beyond the measures that APS is taking to provide free lunches to children in need (APS described this in an email late last week). Additional measures you could take include:

  1. Donate to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. I’ve heard from many other PTAs at schools with a high percentage of low-income families that their families will be turning to AFAC for help.
  2. You can donate to the GoFundMe grocery card campaign organized by two Yorktown HS teachers. So far more than $145K has been raised and more than 300 grocery cards delivered!
  3. You can donate to Real Food for Kids, which is providing lunch food to families in need in N Arlington (note that the two APS sites are in S Arlington, so this is a good supplement to what APS is doing…) More info on that follows.

    Real Food for Kids and award-winning chef, David Guas, are teaming up to help our neighbors. Starting Tuesday, March 17, Chef David will be cooking up meals for grab-and-go distribution at his Arlington restaurant, Bayou Bakery, between 10-11:30 a.m., Monday-Friday

    Needy Arlington children and families can come to Bayou Bakery to pick up a meal, no questions asked. Bayou Bakery is located at 1515 N Courthouse Rd, Arlington, VA 22201.

    For more information, please email

    PLEASE DONATE. Your support is urgently needed to help prevent hunger during this unprecedented lapse in access to school meals.

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