Every week, former Santa Rita School teacher Trish Mitchell rallies support for the LASD Community Gives Back project, which helps Los Altos School District families grappling with food insecurity.
Led by LASD Board of Trustees member Jessica Speiser and district office employee Jason Carballar, the project has consistently served 40 families per week since May.
“The outpouring of love and support for our own community by our own community has really overwhelmed me,” Mitchell said. “People bring bags and bags of food to my house every day. So every week for about four months, I was taking 40 to 80 bags of groceries to the district office.”
The project began in collaboration with the LASD Living Classroom school gardens. During a normal school year, the Living Classroom program provides hands-on nature and gardening lessons for children. The gardens were maintained by volunteers throughout the pandemic so that additional produce could supplement nonperishable food donations.
The project further expanded when Mitchell began distributing empty bags with flyers to people in the Santa Rita community, inviting them to fill them up with goods to donate. Other schools within the district have joined the effort to collect donations. Speiser said that in one week, they amassed more than 500 pounds of citrus from residents’ gardens.
The bags are brought to Covington School every Sunday and sorted into boxes stored in a mobile food truck. The following Wednesday, Speiser distributes the goods at Klein Park, allowing people to pick from the selection of foods. Surplus food was often donated to Community Services Agency in Mountain View.
“The people who are receiving this food are so incredibly humble and grateful,” Mitchell said, “and we just want them to know that we are here for them, we want to do this for them and that this is part of who we are as a community and it’s our honor to do this for them.”
To support LASD Community Gives Back by donating produce or nonperishables, email Speiser at [email protected] To help community members through Community Services Agency, donate at tinyurl.com/donatetocsa.