As a working mother of three, nothing was more important to Melissa Stallard than maintaining a healthy and safe environment for her children. When the pandemic hit and schools transitioned into a virtual setting, Melissa was laid off from her job with only her husband left to provide for the family of five. Like many families shuttered in the wake of job loss from COVID-19, Melissa looked for ways to close shortages in food, school supplies, and basic needs for her family. United Way of the National Capital Area’s (United Way NCA) Community School model at Walt Whitman Middle School was able to help her fill the gaps.
Through United Way NCA’s Community School at Walt Whitman, Melissa was able to access groceries from a monthly food market, pick up school supplies for her children’s education and connect to support services through the United Way NCA-funded Community School Coordinator. Because of United Way NCA’s work, Melissa has greater access to resources embedded within the school.
“It has been difficult,” shares Melissa through her car window outside a monthly resource market. “This is incredible, this is what we need—this is what a lot of families need.”
Helping families like Melissa’s and thousands of others impacted by COVID-19 receive wrap-around services is one of the goals of the United Way NCA’s Community Schools. Throughout the pandemic, communities have seen a greater demand for resources they might otherwise not need. As United Way NCA continues to respond to what no doubt will be a long-term recovery, it’s important that communities have expanded access to safety net resources that can catch them if they fall.
To support families like Melissa’s and thousands more across the region, help your United Way NCA ensure that our Community Schools can reach even deeper into the hearts of families in need at this unprecedented time.
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