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Freedom ES social worker organizes food drives for Bags of Hope

Some of the food that Freedom Elementary School Social Worker Shirley Morris collected from three food drives she organized for Bags of Hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bags of Hope, a nonprofit organization, provides food for students in need outside of school.  Freedom Elementary School Social Worker Shirley Morris organized three food drives to benefit the Bags of Hope backpack food program, which is helping feed District 202 students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bags of Hope provides food for District 202 students to take home each weekend. Morris wanted to continue to support the nonprofit organization during the pandemic. Bags of Hope serves about 260 students in 28 of the district’s 30 schools.

“Bags of Hope is experiencing an incredible need right now,” Morris said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have jumped by 30 families that need food.”

Bags of Hope can’t buy in bulk at the grocery stores due to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, so Morris felt like she had to do something.

On March 31, 2020, Morris drove around her neighborhood and collected food donations from neighbors’ driveways, she said.

After the success of the food drive in her neighborhood, Morris thought she could do the same thing within Freedom’s attendance zone.

Additionally, Freedom’s Student Council holds a food drive for Bags of Hope each spring, and this was one way the school could still hold the food drive, Morris said.

Morris and her fellow Freedom social workers drove around the neighborhoods that attend Freedom on April 14, 2020 and collected nearly 20 boxes of food.

She did not stop there. After a second successful food drive, Morris, who lives in Liberty Elementary School’s attendance area offered to organize a food drive for Liberty as well.

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Morris and a few Liberty staff members, parents, and other District 202 volunteers drove around Liberty boundaries to collect more donations for Bags of Hope.

It takes a lot of people to make the food drives successful, Morris said.

“People want to help out the community, but they don’t know how,” Morris added. “So, if you have someone who can take the lead, people will pitch in.”

Bags of Hope also accepts monetary donations on its website, at www.boh2016.org.