Nando’s Mandela Day Food Drive Collects Nonperishable Food Items for Community Schools

Aug 09, 2021

by United Way NCA

Nando’s teamed up with United Way of the National Capital Area to collect food for local students in need.

Aug. 9, 2021 – Mandela Day, which took place on July 18, honors Nelson Mandela’s leadership in the South African social justice movement. Here at United Way of the National Capital Area, we know the importance of equity movements and honor Mandela and his work.

To celebrate Mandela Day this year, we teamed up with Nando’s to collect nonperishable food items, as well as monetary donations, for our Community Schools’ food banks. Nando’s patrons who brought in a nonperishable food item on Mandela Day received a free ¼ chicken in return for their donation. Giving a meal to get a meal? A win-win for all! Continue reading to learn how the food drive had a positive impact on the region.

Honoring Mandela Day

For 67 years, Mandela fought for social justice in South Africa during the oppressive years of apartheid. Nando’s, a national restaurant chain with South African heritage, was proud to honor Mandela through the brand’s food drive to benefit United Way NCA.

Locations across the National Capital Area opened their doors from noon to 1:07 p.m. for a total of 67 minutes (to honor Mandela’s 67 years) to give out free ¼ chickens to every guest who brought in a nonperishable food donation. In total, Nando’s locations throughout the region received over 3,000 food donations (enough to pack two large vans full!), including pasta, canned meats, vegetables, beans, rice, noodles and soups. These were given to four United Way NCA Community Schools to help feed local students and their families. Within our six Community Schools located throughout the region, 79.5% of students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

What are Community Schools?

United Way NCA is focused on the education pipeline from middle school to college and/or career success. We work in Title I schools in our area, addressing attendance, behavior and course performance through our Community Schools program.

Community Schools serve both the students and their families throughout the National Capital Area. These schools include Walt Whitman Middle School, Francis C. Hammond Middle School, A. Mario Loiederman Middle School, Kelly Miller Middle School, H.D. Woodson Middle School and Buck Lodge Middle School. They serve as neighborhood hubs to families and students, offering essential education programs, social services, health resources and basic needs programs.

Through our Community Schools program, United Way NCA is meeting ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) students and their families where they’re at, focusing on the middle school to college and/or career success pipeline. We know that for many ALICE students and their families, food access and eating three nutritious meals a day is not always a guarantee. When students are hungry, they are unable to focus on schoolwork and their grades and behavior suffer as a result. That’s where our Community Schools program comes in to meet the need.

Four of our Community Schools house food banks for local families as well, and they received the donations from the Mandela Day food drive hosted by Nando’s. These schools include Kelly Miller Middle School (Washington, DC), Walt Whitman Middle School (Fairfax County), A. Mario Loiederman (Montgomery County) and Buck Lodge Middle School (Prince George’s County).

Continuing the Work

Just like Mandela, United Way NCA is focused on reaching equity for all community members, regardless of race, gender, income, ability or zip code. United Way NCA mobilizes all sectors of the community to work together with one goal in mind—helping children and families live their best lives by reducing disparities and increasing equity. We address the needs of our community by focusing on three key pillars of impact—health, education and economic opportunity.

At United Way NCA, we’re reserving a seat for all community members who are ready to join our efforts as we mobilize and make bold strides to achieve equity in our region. Learn how you can give, advocate and volunteer with us at When none are ignored, all will thrive.

About United Way of the National Capital Area

United Way of the National Capital Area improves the health, education and economic opportunity of every person in the National Capital community. United Way NCA has been improving lives by creating measurable impact in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties for more than 45 years. In 2020, United Way NCA was among 384 organizations across the United States to receive a generous transformational investment from novelist and venture philanthropist, MacKenzie Scott. For more information about United Way of the National Capital Area, visit

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