At the heart of our school communities, PTA volunteers often step up to support our families in times of need. As the longest partial government shutdown in history continues, many PTAs are finding ways to support and help stabilize families of federal government employees and contractors. We’d like to share some ways PTAs can support parents and families affected by the partial government shutdown. It is not an exhaustive list, so please share YOUR ideas on the FCCPTA Facebook Page.
Use e-newsletters, “backpack express” and social media to get the word out about special resources for federal workers, including, but not limited to:
- Fairfax County. Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) connects Fairfax County residents to county and community-based services and resources. Just one phone call will get you connected to the information and assistance you need. Call 703-222-0880, TTY 711.Learn more about Fairfax County resources here. Watch for updated services and information as the partial shutdown continues.
- FCPS. In addition to holding two substitute teaching hiring events for furloughed workers, FCPS continues to support families affected by the current partial federal government shutdown through its current practice to ensure that no FCPS student will go hungry and will sponsor a hiring event for furloughed federal employees. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to all students regardless of ability to pay or temporary financial circumstances. There will be no “lunch shaming,” and unpaid balances will be allowed to accrue during this time. Keep an eye on fcps.eduand News You Choose for further updates.
- Local Restaurants and Business Specials. PTAs are posting information on our private Facebook Best Practices page. If you know of a local business that wants to support furloughed employees, please share it on our public FCCPTA Facebook page.
- Parks and Libraries provide free entertainment. Promote Library Events and Park Events among your parents.
Encourage parents to get involved
- Stuff the bus. Share news about Fairfax County’s Stuff the Busevent on January 19.
- Support Volunteer Fairfax. As many families in our area are being heavily impacted by the government shutdown, scores of non-profits and local agencies are offering varying levels of assistance. We at Volunteer Fairfax have compiled a list of Support for our Furloughed Neighbors. If you know of any assistance not listed, or if your organization wishes to include any provisions for federal employees, government contractors and others who provide services to the government, please email us so it may be included. This list will be updated as content is available. Check out Volunteer Fairfax’s Facebook page for additional information.
Provide Direct Support
Ask your principal if any of these are right for your school community:
- Promote school pantries and backpack programs. Many PTAs support programs for students with food insecurity; ask if your PTA can contribute or encourage parents to help expand these programs.
- Hold a gift card drive. Working with your school counselor or administration, encourage your parents to donate gift cards to your local grocery stores and gas stations. To protect privacy, your administration can determine how to best distribute the gift cards.
- Hold a schoolwide event that includes a free meal. Host a potluck and game night or, if your budget allows, provide pizza.
- Share Go Fund Me and similar pages with permission. As 501c3s, PTAs do not raise money directly for individuals. However, it is typical for PTAs to share fundraising pages to support a school family in a time of crisis. If you find that some of your families have established fundraising sites, ask if they’d benefit by you sharing that information with your community. This is a sensitive area, so be sure to let your Executive Board members weigh in.
You know your communities best, and many of you may have already shared this and similar information. Please let us know if there are any ways FCCPTA can support you and your families.