Snacks that began in Marin City to help school families during the coronavirus crisis have swollen in scope in just three weeks.
Initially delivering food bags to around 80 families every week whose children attend Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in Marin City, community efforts now plans to serve around 140 families – including those who have children at Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito. The family is mostly in Marin City, but also in Mill Valley, San Rafael and Novato.
“Our integrated canned food movers, now called ‘Bags of Love,’ have raised $ 76K to date,” David Finnane, principal of Bayside MLK, said in an email. “We work side by side to serve BMLK and WCA families who are in need.”
Emily Cox, principal at Willow Creek, said interest has been high since word broke about the project. He said the school uses List of geniuses web site for managing waves of volunteers.
He and the volunteer team contacted the school family to compile a list of home deliveries to begin in about two weeks.
“This thing exploded – all for good,” said Finnane. “This includes people who shop for food, arrange food for bagging, bag food, distribute and ship bags, and manage finances.”
In total, said Finnane, around 35 volunteers are now involved. That compared to the small trio who launched the project at the end of March – Finnane, Bayside teacher Rich Friedman and San Anselmo resident Julie Neil.
“There are many moving parts to make sure this goes well every week,” Finnane added. “Felecia Gaston and Performing Stars also come forward with the help of their staff. People are very generous with their time and money. “
He praised the South Marin organization Bridge Gap University Preparation by helping “Love Bags” achieve non-profit status so they can receive donations that can reduce taxes. In addition, Andy Bachich, owner Andy’s Local Market, joining the effort by accepting bulk food purchases at a cost, according to Finnane.
Finnane said the volunteers, who plan to continue efforts until mid-August, saw the project as a model for the future integration of Bayside MLK, a traditional public school under the Sausalito City School District of Marin City, and Willow Creek, a charter school authorized by District. Before the virus crisis, unification process has surged amid legal and financial conflicts.
“The wonderful thing about our ‘Bags of Love’ food push is that the need we strive to fill naturally erases any disagreement or history between schools or within two communities,” Finnane said. “Our mutual focus is on helping those in need.”
“To be honest, nobody cares which school you work in or where your children go to school,” he added. “We only work together in a spirit of kindness and service. This is very satisfying and hopefully becomes a model for what we can do together in an integrated way. “
“What many people don’t realize is the level of collaboration that has existed between the two schools for years,” he said. “I think this unprecedented crisis has only strengthened the fact that we are all willing to unite and do anything to care for all our children and families.”
Donations can be made online at bit.ly/2wuR6Fa.