A Federal Way mother hasn’t stopped after she donated Thanksgiving dinner to 57 needy families last month.
Monique Edwards is now taking on winter break.
“Our ultimate goal is 300 families,” she said Tuesday, adding she’s raising enough food donations to help get those families through three weeks during the holidays.
Monique Edwards started P’s Lunchbox about a year ago when her son Precious Reed asked her for lunch money for a friend of his. Reed said he thought his friend wasn’t eating at school and he had been giving his friend his lunch.
“It just broke my heart immediately,” Edwards told KING 5 last month. “I was like I want to help wherever I can.”
Nearly 60 percent of students in Federal Way are on free or reduced lunch, according to Communities in Schools, which helps make existing community resources more accessible to students and families. That’s 14,000 students district-wide. CIS said there are even more students who either don’t know about the program or don’t sign up because of concern for their immigration status.
P’s Lunchbox partners with Communities in Schools to feed kids at Illahee Middle School and Todd Beamer High School through the program’s food closet.
After learning some students who qualify for free and reduced lunch do not receive it, Edwards started collecting food donations from friends and family members.
“I have children. I couldn’t imagine them being hungry,” she continued. “I know when I’m hungry I’m irritated, I’m agitated. I’m like ugh, I gotta go get me something to eat, you know? I couldn’t imagine sitting and sitting and trying to concentrate for a test.”
Edwards had previously said she would cook a Thanksgiving meal for the families, but she said the district and CIS stepped in due to health code concerns. Thus, she’s taken in donations for the families.
Edwards is collecting donations at her Renton business, Custom Pressed Tees, until December 14.
If you are interested in donating item for a holiday meal, contact Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate to Communities in Schools or Bridging A Gap, which both work in the Federal Way School District.