Montgomery County teacher helps feed hundreds of families during pandemic

When Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, one kindergarten teacher in the county suspected students and their families would struggle to get enough meals.

So, for the past six months, Arcola Elementary School teacher Margaret Norris, along with a team of volunteers, has packed and delivered up to 150 bags of food per week for vulnerable students in Montgomery County.

“It’s been a community effort,” Norris said in an interview with CNN. “I have an army of volunteers that take 50-pound bags of beans and re-bag them all for me into quart-sized containers.”

Norris and other teachers have used their own money to shop and provide meals for local families. But Norris took to social media early on to seek donations, and that’s what allowed her to provide as many meals as she has.

“Donations have come in from the community, they’ve fallen off, it’s getting harder for everybody, but the donations are coming in strongly still and I’ve learned how to shop differently,” she said.

Norris said she has tried to stay close with local families even though she can’t see her students face to face.

“It’s just all so hard. I have one mom who has three sons and they are 8, 9 and 11 and she had a job but she couldn’t keep it because she couldn’t keep the children home alone all day,” Norris said. “Weeks ago she texted me and she said, ‘I don’t want you to do this any more because I’m so ashamed. I’m so ashamed that you’re spending your money to feed my children.'”

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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