In affluent places like Germantown, it is often easy to forget about some residents struggling to make ends meet or dealing with difficult family issues. Riverdale School Counselor, Kathleen Fisher, made a point this season to reach out and serve those less fortunate in our own community through a variety of programs. "Working with the Student Ambassadors, we are trying to help in all the little ways we can," said Fisher.
Over the holiday season which can be particularly difficult for families in need, Riverdale partnered with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Angel Tree works to provide those unable to afford gifts with toys, stuffed animals, clothing, and more for their children to open on Christmas morning. But, a twist on the standard Angel Tree--Ms. Fisher arranged to support their very own Riverdale families this season. Teachers and parents donated hundreds of dollars to sponsor those at Riverdale qualifying for this program and ensure that the entire student body would wake up to a special holiday morning.
That's when the school counselor and her ambassadors decided that seasonal giving wasn't enough. Out of what Ms. Fisher saw as a need, the Snack Pack program was born.
“Riverdale is sending home food back packs with students on
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to help meet the needs of struggling
families.” explained guidance counselor Kathleen Fisher, who spearheaded the
Again funded by donations from parents and teachers, the bags are packed with after-school snacks and treats for students who may not have access to afternoon snacks in their own home. These snacks are then specially packaged by student volunteers, and then discreetly put in student’s backpacks by staff.
"Each snack pack contains ten items from Cosco or Sam's Club [pre-packaged]. We find that it can be very helpful to a single mother or to a child that may not have dinner and snacks waiting on them at home," shared Ms. Fisher.
Teachers and parents are eager to support this program--and it's easy. Monetary donations are collected and the PTO sends a mom to purchase the snacks. Back at Riverdale the student ambassadors package them up into grocery bags. "It's simple, but it goes a long way," said Fisher as she described that the packs were so popular with families and students that she plans to continue the program. To date, they've filled approximately 200 bags (that's 2,000 snack packs).
Although she credits the PTO, the teachers, and her student crew, School Counselor Kathleen Fisher has brought several innovative and successful programs [The Knight's Watch and Snack Packs] to Riverdale this year.