DATE: July 9, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Premium Services Brands Non-Profit to Donate 50,000 Snacks to Benefit Albemarle County Students in 13 Schools
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Kids-Lift, a local non-profit dedicated to working with schools to eliminate achievement gaps, said today that it would donate 50,000 healthy snacks during the 2019-20 school year to students in 13 schools throughout the county.
The schools were selected for the program based on the percentages of families that participate in the federal government’s free and reduced-price lunch program. Last school year, Kids-Lift provided backpacks with more than 3,000 weekend meals to some families at Stone-Robinson Elementary School and Henley Middle School recommended for special assistance by family support workers with the county’s Department of Social Services. Kids-Lift said it will continue the weekend meal program next year at Stone-Robinson.
“Our healthy snack commitment is a natural extension of our weekend meal service,” said Samantha Lin, the executive director of the non-profit. “Research shows that hunger often interferes with a child’s ability to concentrate and learn during the school year. We realize not all students are able to participate in snack times during the school day. By making snacks available, we hope we can contribute to healthier, more successful learning experiences for these children,” she said.
Debora Collins, the school division’s Deputy Superintendent, pointed out that one of the school division’s three strategic priorities is to “identify and remove practices that perpetuate the achievement gap,” and that among the strategic plan’s five objectives is to “create and expand partnerships.”
“This new program with Kids-Lift is an excellent example of how a partnership can help to meet a very important strategic priority,” Collins noted. “We want every child to have the safest, healthiest, most supportive environment in our schools. That requires doing all we can to remove barriers to learning, regardless of where they originate,” she said.
Kids-Lift will provide the snacks to the Albemarle County Department of Social Services, and the family support workers assigned to the schools will transport them to the individual schools.
Schools are offered a family support worker based upon their free and reduced-price lunch program participation percentages and Child Protective Services referrals. Elementary schools with family support workers that are included in the Kids-Lift snack program are Agnor-Hurt, Brownsville, Cale, Greer, Red Hill, Scottsville, Stone-Robinson, Stony Point, and Woodbrook. Students in four middle schools, Burley, Henley, Jouett and Walton, also will benefit.
“We’re grateful for the difference this will make in the school day for many of the students we serve,” said Lauren Otto, a family support worker at Stone-Robinson. “Over the past several years, the increase in the population of students who qualify for the federal government’s free and reduced-price lunch program has been much higher than the overall percentage gains in student enrollment. More than 30 percent of Albemarle County Public Schools students this past year came from economically disadvantaged homes,” she said.
Since 2009, Albemarle County’s student enrollment has grown by seven percent, while the number of students who come from economically disadvantaged homes has increased by 40 percent.
In addition to its snack program, Kids-Lift also will be collecting school supplies for students attending Woodbrook next month. The organization will be at the Kroger supermarket in the Barracks Road Shopping Center on Saturday, August 3, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Kids-Lift is the non-profit arm of a local company, Premium Service Brands, which provides business opportunities in the home improvement industry. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Flick, has children enrolled in Albemarle County schools.
“Whether in business or community service, our passion is to give back to lift up the communities in which we live,” Flick said. “Supporting kids and families is crucial to our values of integrity and caring,” he added.