Connection Through Nutrition: PAUS Counselors Help Build Community through the Counselor’s Breakfast, Open Market, and Weekend Backpack Programs
Mathieu Perry, Cherose Walker, and Fergie Wheeler are not just the folks you go to when you need to talk...they’re the ones you also go to when you need help getting some of your basic needs met. Whether students need help with their academics, a social issue, managing their emotions, or struggles at home, the students at Putnam Avenue Upper School also know that they can come to their guidance or school adjustment counselors when they can’t afford a backpack to replace one that broke, to get a band-aid when the nurse’s office is three floors away, and even to get food when rations are low at home.
Once a month, the Putnam Avenue counselors host a breakfast before school. While a large number of Putnam Avenue students are entitled to a free/reduced breakfast at school, this monthly event gives students the chance to eat from a different menu, have some special treats, and just spend time with the counselors in a social setting.
On any given Friday, you’ll also see the counselors carrying around large buckets and bags of food that have been delivered by parent volunteers and provided by Food for Free’s Weekend Backpack Program. This year, 22 students received a bag of food every Friday afternoon that contains nutritional breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. These bags help students eat nutritionally when school is not in session. The food is catered to special dietary needs, ranging from peanut-free to Halal.
Food for Free also partners with the Putnam Avenue counselors to provide a monthly Open Market with the MLK community. Canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, bread, and a variety of other foods are offered to any community member. Each month, the Putnam Avenue counselors work with eighth grade student volunteers to ensure that families in our community have a positive, friendly, and nutritionally balanced experience.
For any questions about how to participate in any of these events next year, please contact Fergie Wheeler.