Whitman Promotes Community Service Through Our Family Market

By Harmony Tahy
October 13, 2023

This week, we were delighted to host our monthly Whitman Family Market in collaboration with the Capital Area Food Bank. Our Family Market is a vital, monthly event designed to provide a no-cost, market-style grocery distribution, making it more convenient for families to access the nourishing, high-quality food they need to thrive.

The Capital Area Food Bank is committed to bringing these markets to communities where hunger hits hardest, ensuring that families can receive food right where their children already spend their days.

Approximately half of the food distributed consists of fresh produce, making it easier for parents to prepare wholesome meals at home. At Whitman, we are proud to be able to provide food to around 200 families in our community through this initiative.

Family Market Beginnings

The Whitman Family Market first opened its doors during the 2017-2018 school year. Jennifer Diglio, our International Baccalaureate Coordinator at the time, recognized the importance of supporting the "whole child" in our school. She observed that it was exceptionally challenging for students to learn and for families to support their children's success at school when they faced food insecurity at home.

One of Ms. Diglio's cherished memories from her time with the market is a conversation she had with a student who said, "Ms. Diglio, can you help me shop at the market again this week? My mom was so pleased with everything I brought home last time, and I want to make her happy again."

At the end of the first year, our staff acknowledged the Family Market as one of the highlights of that school year because it brought parents and community members into the school building who had never been there before. This partnership has continued to grow year after year.

Even during the challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, our Family Market persevered and continued to provide essential support.

During the 2020-2021 school year, our After-School Specialist, Chris Tippins, and International Baccalaureate Coordinator, Dana Bayer, rallied staff and student volunteers to come together to ensure that all families could access the food they needed. Mr. Tippins reflected on the experience, saying, "I truly enjoyed overseeing the Whitman Family Market and working during COVID to support Dana. It was a deeply rewarding experience." He commended the students who consistently stepped up and volunteered without prompting, demonstrating their strong desire to support their community.

Family Market Events in 2023-24

We extend an open invitation to all our families and community members to join us at our Family Market events this year. The market takes place on the following Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.:

  • November 8th
  • December 13th
  • January 10th
  • March 13th
  • April 17th
  • May 8th

We look forward to sharing these moments of connection and support with our community.