Families4Families club aims to ease pandemic induced difficulties

Charlotte Guy

Seven bananas, a package of hotdogs, a gallon of milk, two dozen eggs, two boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, and one box of fruit snacks—these are just a fraction of the items that go into every bag packed and delivered by Wilson’s chapter of Families4Families.

The organization was launched in March 2020 as a way to address food insecurity in DMV communities in the midst of COVID-19. It has since expanded to become a nationwide initiative and has been replicated in 12 other cities across the country. 

Wilson junior Colin Bennett was introduced to Families4Families while working at another meal delivery community organization, Meals On Wheels. There he was able to talk to one of the founders of Families4Families, Amanda Marshall, whose son had recently started a chapter at Landon.  

After three weeks of working with Landon’s chapter, Bennett decided to create his own branch of Families4Families at Wilson. “We would give [the partnership families] food and they’d be really grateful and that was just really wholesome to see and so I thought it was a great opportunity to bring the Families4Families to the Wilson community,” Bennett said. Since November, he has been the co-president of the club with his friend and fellow Wilson junior John Willsey.

Every student chapter is paired with a local nonprofit organization known as a “partner organization.” Luckily for Bennett and Willsey, they were quickly able to find a partnership with the MusicianShip program: an organization that provides high-quality music education to kids living in underprivileged areas with limited access to the arts.

“Wilson was already partnered with the MusicianShip program, which is why I chose Mr. Phifer to be the teacher sponsor,” Bennet explained. Families4Families also already had connections with the MusicianShip program making it the perfect opportunity for Bennett and Willsey.

Since November they have done three drives and collected a cumulative of 34 bags. These bags contain a variety of different foods to feed a family for a week. They also sometimes add additional items such as hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, and clothing.

Every month they try to add a little extra to the bags, but this December they decided to do something even more special for the holiday season. The club collected a variety of different children’s toys such as drawing kits and stuffed animals that they then redistributed. 

Bennett and Willsey are always looking for new members for their club to fill up a number of important roles, especially during drop-off days. “People can work as drop off workers where you organize each bag for the families, and you can also work as a grocery-getter, where you buy all the stuff that’s on the list and you bring them to the drop off where the organizers organize all the bags,” explained Bennett. 

To get involved with Families4Families, you can find the link to sign up for volunteer opportunities in the Wilson newsletter each week or contact [email protected].