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After feeding thousands, organizers of ‘Community Schools' say their operations are being shut down

Posted at 6:48 PM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 23:27:54-04

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. — After feeding over 75,000 people since the start of the pandemic, organizers of Community Schools say their operations are in jeopardy of being shut down.

“We were obviously very upset and frustrated and angry," said Monica Alvarado, the founder of Feed Anne Arundel.

The anger and frustration stems from a call she received over the weekend.

“I received a call from the program manager at Tyler Heights who received notice from the central office that Saturday would be the last resource fair," said Alvarado.

For the last year and a half community schools have hosted resource fairs where families could come to sites to receive food, cleaning supplies and at one point even COVID shots.

Avarado says Anne Arundel County Public Schools enacted a change in policy that would discontinue their fairs on school grounds

“I did hear sprinklings of liability issues and concerns and so far as I understood it. They had concerns about fresh food and about having it on weekends. They really want us to do it in the evenings during the week," she said.

Alvarado's frustration, she says, comes from how the call was made, leaving community school organizers out of the conversation completely...until it was too late.

“None of the stakeholders had been engaged to even discuss concerns so it was a very abrupt stop to something that we’ve been doing successfully for over 17 months," said Alvarado.

With the amount of impact they've had she's hoping leaders will reconsider their option to reverse the policy.

“We’ve served over 75 thousand people just at the Tyler Heights one and the Annapolis cluster just in 2021 along over 45 thousand people had been served," she added.

The district and community stakeholders are set to meet Tuesday to discuss potential changes to the new policy.