When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools in mid-March, school divisions scrambled to get food pickup programs in place for families that relied on school meals.

Harrisonburg City Public Schools arranged for meal pickups on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the schools. Through this program, Waterman Elementary School also partnered with Vine and Fig and Radical Roots, two area nonprofits focused on ecology and sustainability, to also provide fresh vegetables for families picking up bagged meals, said Principal Margot Zahner.

The programs were quickly popular with families, some of whom show up during the week just for the vegetables.

“They love having access to whatever is in season,” Zahner said.

Although the partnership occurred when students were out of school due to COVID, Zahner said she hopes the program will continue as long as vegetables are available.

Waterman is already known as a “caring community,” Zahner said. And this is just another extension of that and a way to engage with the community.

“It’s a linguistically and culturally diverse group of women preparing food for a linguistically and diverse group of families,” Zahner said.

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272 or mwilliams@dnronline.com. Follow Megan on Twitter @DNR_Learn

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