Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

          For most people, the holiday season is a time of joy and happiness. We can escape the stress of school or work to spend time with loved ones and celebrate. Unfortunately, for many people, what is supposed to be a time of relaxation can instead be one of increased difficulty. 

          Westfield has created ways to lighten the strain on those in need this season. Every Thursday for the rest of the school year, seven volunteers from the National Honor Society (NHS) pack meals that are donated by parents, which are picked up by Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. This program enables Westfield to send 100 families home with a bag of food every weekend. 

          “Right now food security is so important, and certainly with rising food costs it is going to be even more important that food not go to waste and that people in our community are supported,” explained Amanda Blizzard, history teacher, who helps run the program.

          Westfield is also working with Western Fairfax Christian Ministries on a food pantry program. Students who have extra packaged foods or canned goods after lunch on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays can donate that food. Students from NHS will then take all of it to Fairfax Christian. 

          “We strongly encourage students to provide whatever they are not using,” Blizzard urged. 

          There are numerous other ways of helping families in need. There are bags of food created for families who need food daily as well as bags produced for students who are hungry at any point during the school day. To contribute, anyone can donate food they don’t need, gift cards to grocery stores, or order things straight to the school off of Amazon. 

          Support for Westfield families is not exclusively available during the holidays. Whenever a student may be struggling it is a priority for them to receive whatever it is that they need. 

          “You learn better when you’re full, so anytime a student needs something, my goal is to help them get what they need,” Sonya Williams, Director of Student Services, stated. “People could be struggling for a variety of different reasons, and we hope that as long as we have the right donations and school support that this is who we are as a community.”