Avie Miller was determined to do her part to help Tuesday night.
She stacked boxes of Chef Boyardee. She sorted granola bars and peanut butter crackers. And she passed apple juice boxes to her mother, adding an occasional twirl in her pink dress.
It was, after all, her birthday, and Avie was celebrating turning 3-years-old.
But before Avie’s birthday dinner and cake, her family made time for community service. Her parents and older brother Rylen, a Centerville Elementary kindergartener, joined 150 volunteers at Corporate Landing Middle School March 31 to support the school division’s Beach Bags packing event.
Beach Bags, a program facilitated by VBCPS Parent Connection, provides shelf-stable meals and healthy snacks to students who might otherwise go hungry over weekends and during school breaks. Because the school division will be closed for one week when its spring break begins April 6, Parent Connection sought volunteers to help pack more than 1,000 Beach Bags so every child in the program could receive food to take home. It hosted a similar event in December before the winter holidays.
Stacy Miller, Avie’s mom, saw the volunteer request posted on the VBSchools Facebook page and signed up the entire family. Heidi Greentree-Best also saw the Facebook post and attended with her stepdaughter Taylor Best, a seventh-grader at Great Neck Middle School.
“Taylor just said she was looking for something to do to support the community,” explained Greentree-Best. “Then we saw the opportunity on Facebook and decided to sign up.”
Also signing up to help were groups of volunteers from Liberty Tax Service, Dominion Enterprises, Charles Barker Auto and Delta Sigma Theta.
“We are here because we are all about public service,” said Delta Sigma Theta member Eleanor Washington as she added a cereal box to the bag and passed it to a Beach Bags teammate to add apple juice.
As a result of the outpouring of support by so many volunteers, bags of food were assembled almost faster than they could be sorted and packed for this week’s delivery. After only 30 minutes of activity Eileen Cox, VBCPS director of communications and community engagement, called for everyone’s attention to announce the good news.
“Thanks to all your work tonight, we have met our goal to pack a Beach Bag for every child in need,” said Cox. “We can’t thank you enough for donating your time to support our students.”
Middle school student Best and her stepmother Greentree-Best were glad they participated.
“It is amazing to see how we could all come together to do something so great,” said Best.
Her stepmother agreed. “It was nice to feel like you’re part of the community and giving back.”
View more pictures from the March 31 Beach Bags packing event on the school division’s Facebook page.
To learn more about the Beach Bags program, visit the school division’s website vbschools.com. If you would like to contribute to the program or are interested in packing Beach Bags, please contact Eileen Cox in the Office of Community Engagement at (757) 263-1313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.