Birmingham organization steps up to feed students during remote learning

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 9:13 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - According to the state, thousands of students were learning online by mid-January because of  COVID-19 infections among staff.

Many of the announcements were abrupt, leaving families scrambling to accommodate the changes.

A Birmingham family advocate said the reality for some families during remote learning was challenging and getting the students lessons done was the least of their worries.

Oftentimes, loss of learning is a main topic of discussion due to remote learning but Jenise Fountain, Founder of Margins: Women Helping Black Women said food insecurity was a major problem.

“We went and got some food items, some protein items, packed them up and dropped them off,” Fountain said.

With more than 50% of Alabama students eligible for FREE lunch, which meant they come from homes below the poverty line, Fountain said her organization was stepping up to help as many students as possible.

Birmingham City Schools had recently announced the district would transition to remote learning for two days in anticipation of a massive staffing shortage. The district also said they would not provide lunches on the days students were learning from home.

Fountain said they were prepared to pack hundreds of food bags for students but addressing meals was only half the battle.

“We’re not all working from home. Some of us are privileged to be home but not most of my clients. So, there’s that childcare. There’s the issue with the meals. There’s the time off work,” Fountain explained.

Finding help isn’t easy, according to Fountain who urged families who needed help to not be ashamed to ask for it because the community should do what it can for its neighbors.

“I think it’s important for people who are able to, to look next to them and see what they can do for anyone. Whose child can come over for virtual school? Who do you have an extra lunch for? It’s been hard,” Fountain said.

Fountain said they will deliver lunches for as many Birmingham children as possible.

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