The Love Never Stops

Locally-Based Website, Restaurant Team Up To Support Sandy Hook Survivors

Posted: August 23, 2013

Locally-owned and operated A Bowl Of Good packages meals for TakeThemAMeal.com, a locally-based website that facilitates meals for people in crisis. (Photo by Courtesy Photo)
Last December, the nation mourned for Newtown, Conn., after a gunman forced himself into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire, taking 26 lives — 20 of which belonged to children. It was the second deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history.

The country fell silent. Mourners held vigils across America, honoring the victims. President Obama held back tears during a press conference the day of the tragedy. It was hard for many people to process what had just happened, and it remains so.

Many people wanted to do something for those who were most impacted by the tragedy: the victims’ families and the school faculty.  

A Helping Hand
One person that eagerly wanted to do her part was Adina Bailey.

Knowing the tradition of taking food to those in the aftermath of a crisis, Bailey — along with local realtor Scott Rogers — launched the web site TakeThemAMeal.com in January 2008. The site facilitates the scheduling process, so people can easily send loved ones a packaged meal in hopes that it will alleviate the stress of their respective situation.

TakeThemAMeal.com has helped deliver meals to several organizations in the past, including Ronald McDonald houses and homeless shelters. Bailey, whose website averages about 30,000 hits a day, said the organization has teamed up with local restaurant A Bowl of Good to package the meals.
“We were approached about it by [TakeThemAMeal.com] and I thought it was a great idea” said Todd Van Patter, systems manager at A Bowl of Good.

“I think it’s a great gesture and we’re going to help out as much as we can.”

“A Bowl of Good” assists in packaging anywhere from 75 to 110 meals for TakeThemAMeal.com each week.

Operation Sandy Hook
After the Sandy Hook tragedy, Bailey was contacted by a high school teacher from Newtown, Conn., about the possibility of sending a meal to each teacher that taught at Sandy Hook.

“We wanted to help,” said Bailey, a Harrisonburg resident. “So many people were contacting us to send food to those affected by the [Newtown] tragedy, but we were told waiting would be better. So, we decided to wait.”

Bailey has a point. Those most affected by the tragedy received an overwhelming amount of phone calls, cards, and gifts during the immediate days and weeks after the fact.

But now that eight months have passed, the tragedy is less frequently mentioned by the media. While the situation will never be forgotten, the overwhelming outpouring has since dwindled. Bailey and Rogers decided that waiting until the beginning of the new school year would make the most impact: It would show survivors that what happened hasn’t been forgotten, to show that love never stops.

The plan is to package between 110 to 120 meals to be sent to Newtown, Conn., in late September, which should provide for the entire teaching staff. The meals are high quality and low sodium, and include vegetarian options.

Local Effort, National Cause
However, TakeThemAMeal is still in need of local help.

Maureen Witmer, director of Outreach and Engagement at TakeThemAMeal, said the organization is still seeking people to sponsor a meal. To do so, visit TakeThemAMeal.com and follow the steps presented. There is a $50 fee to sponsor a meal, which covers the cost of the food and provides each donor the opportunity to send a personal message intended for each meal recipient.

“There is a real need to follow up with people, and we feel now is the time” said Witmer. “This is a great effort, and we want to show [the survivors] that we still care about them.”

The goal is to show those still coping with the daily aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy that they are still in the nation’s thoughts; sponsoring a meal is one way to do so.

It goes to show that no matter how big or small the gesture, anyone can make a difference in somebody else’s life, even for the slightest of a moment. And that the love never stops.

For more information, visit TakeThemAMeal.com.


Contact Matt Gonzales at 574-6265 or mgonzales@dnronline.com.


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