Prince George's County school secretary delivers food to students in need
Veronica Scarborough, a school secretary at Waldon Woods Elementary in Clinton, Maryland is on a mission that matters. “It’s an assignment. And when the Good Lord gives you an assignment, it’s important that you do it,” she says.
Over the years, in her time in the front office, she noticed some of her “babies” as she likes to call them, didn’t always have enough to eat. Ms. Scarborough says sometimes the children would ask for a snack, and she couldn’t say no. She says, “I would bring extra lunches and I would share. Then it became besides one student, two students, three students, and before you knew it, it was overwhelming!”
So, when her day job ends in the front office of the Prince George’s County school, Ms. Scarborough goes from taking school calls, to making house calls.
She’s now a one-woman delivery service, taking hot meals to some of her students. It’s something she says not everyone understands. She says, “People look at PG County as being one of the richest counties, but it’s not. These families are struggling.”
Even with some families struggling, Ms. Scarborough says often times, parents are too proud to ask for help.
“I let the parents know, I’m not trying to embarrass you, but I have extra. Do you mind if I give it to the kids? The numbers are growing and growing,” she tells WUSA9.
Ms. Scarborough’s close connection with the students and the trust she’s built with parents, have put her in a unique situation to help.
Ms. Scarborough says when she saw the WUSA9 Impact team packing weekend lunches for students in Alexandria, it was the encouragement she needed to keep going.
“It was ‘Wow!” I thought it was awesome, what you guys did. I saw those babies and I thought those are ‘my babies’, same situation.”
Unlike Francis C. Hammond Middle School, the focus of the WUSA9 Impact project, there is no United Way backpack program at Waldon Woods. So, Ms. Scarborough figured it out herself. She walked into local restaurants and told them about her students. Each day after school, Ms. Scarborough stops at places like Popeyes, Pizza Bolis and 7-11, to pick up donations.
Ms. Scarborough says the managers and owners of those restaurants never hesitated to help. On the day WUSA9 went along with Ms. Scarborough to pick up the meals, Popeyes donated two dozen pieces of chicken and biscuits. Pizza Bolis donated several large pizzas. Both businesses say they feel it’s their duty to give back to their community.
Once Ms. Scarborough collects the food, she needs to dish it out into individual meals. Clinton Christian Assembly of God, a church just a block from Waldon Woods, opened its doors to give her a place to pack. Gloves on hand and a helper by her side, Ms. Scarborough divides up the pizza and chicken for her 16 students.
For Ms. Scarborough, it’s all worth it. “Oh my god, they are so excited when they look inside the bag and see what’s inside. It’s like Christmas!”
One of her students says being around Ms. Scarborough just makes you feel good, “When I see my Mom when I get home, I get happy. It feels the same way when I see her.”
Right now, Ms. Scarborough does all the heavy lifting for the 16 families she serves, but she’d like to reach 50 of them. To do that, she needs more food donations and volunteers to help her deliver the meals. It’s a tough job, but Ms. Scarborough is committed.
“Some things are worth fighting for and I was like, this is it. I’m going to fight for this.” If you’d like to help, email email@example.com