ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Blue Ridge School is pairing up with the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) to make sure families with special needs children can stay fed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re trying everything we can do be there for them, even with social distancing and all that. Just we’re doing anything we can,” VIA Instructor Stevie Marshall said.
Once a week, VIA staff members are packing up and bringing necessities to families in their community.
“We are wanting to do door-to-door safe delivery of food items, teaching materials, books, diapers, things that we know are an essential part of day-to-day living for our families,” VIA Clinical Social Worker Hilary Nagel said.
Michael and Jennifer Donovan from the Blue Ridge School decided to help out after they realized the school had leftover food that might otherwise go to waste. Since about 90% of the school’s staff lives on the campus, the Donovans reached out to Sage Dining Services, which oversee operations there to see if there was any way to help give back.
The Donovans drop off food three times a week to different organizations.
“Generally, it ranges from 40-60 pounds of food, which we’re finding is feeding anywhere between four and six families, depending on the size of the families,” Jennifer Donovan said.
Since VIA works with more than 10 different school divisions, the deliveries go to families across central Virginia.
Instructor Stevie Marshall says it can make a big difference.
“With children with autism and that break in routine, even taking them out in the community can be a challenge. So even just getting to the grocery store for a lot of our parents can just be a challenge, so we’re just trying to find every way we can to support them,” Marshall said.
If you are interested in making a donation you can drop it off at the Charlottesville VIA campus or you can find more information here.