Weekend on Wheels
WOW at a Glance
In a school district where nearly 35% of the student population qualifies for free or reduced price lunches, it begs the question: what families can afford to feed children when they are not in school? For some students, the last meal of the week comes on Friday in the form of a government-aided free lunch from the school’s cafeteria.
To combat this problem, the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District created Weekend on Wheels (WOW). Each weekend throughout the school year, MRH students and staff prepare nutritious food packages to support MRH families in need.
The district-wide WOW Steering Committee is comprised of high school student interns and MRH staff from each of the District’s schools. In order to continue our weekly support services, the WOW Steering Committee develops fundraising strategies, organizes food drives, and works with local businesses and faith organizations to secure donations for families in need within our community.
WOW is an entirely donations based program. Nonperishable food items are donated by the local faith community, neighboring school communities, and MRH families and community members. WOW also receives weekly bread donations through Panera Cares. Business partners across the St. Louis area, as well as other area school districts, donate boxes used for weekend food package deliveries.
WOW has supported nearly 100 families since 2012, sending home approximately 1,440 boxes of food each school year. Each WOW box has an estimated value of $50.
Monetary donations are primarily applied to the purchase of grocery cards, used to support families during extended breaks from school. The amount needed to fund this annual support typically runs between $11,100 - $15,000.
WOW Boxes Typically Include
- 1 box of plain pasta
- 2 cans of tuna, chicken, etc.
- 1 jar of peanut butter
- 1 box of cereal OR
- 3-5 packets of oatmeal
- 3 packages of Ramen OR
- 1 box of Mac & Cheese
- 2 cans of tomatoes or 1 jar of
- tomato sauce
- 2-4 cans of veggies
- 2-3 cans of beans
- 1 jar of jelly
- 2-3 cans of soup
- 2 cans spaghetti/sloppy Joes
- Fruit (add 1 of the following)
- 2 cans (peaches, pineapple, etc.)
- 3-4 applesauce or fruit cups
- Snacks (pick 2 of the following)
- 4-6 Granola Bars
- 2 packs of Poptarts
- Package of trail mix
- Dessert (pick 1 if available)
- 1 box of mix
- 1-2 boxes of Jello
- 1 package of cookies
Who benefits from WOW supports?
- During the regular school year, WOW serves previously identified families who would benefit from these additional food supports.
What’s the best way to donate financially?
- Monetary donations can be made at any time. Please make checks out to “MRH School District” and note “WOW” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to 7539 Manchester Road., St. Louis, MO 63143, Weekend on Wheels. Please do not mail cash or gift cards.
- Food donations via Amazon.com can be purchased at any time.
- If you are a parent in the MRH School District, you can also donate online through the My School Bucks payment portal. Please note that this option is currently only available to MRH families.
I saw the Amazon wish list for WOW, but some of the food items are out of stock. Can I purchase from another store and have them delivered to the high school?
- Yes, you can purchase food from other stores, however we do not have personnel regularly in the school buildings to accept packages at this time. So, if you do buy food online, please consider having it shipped to your home, and then contributing your donation on one of the donation days listed above.
What does the WOW Pantry need most right now?
Can I donate toiletries and personal care items?
- Not right now, only out of an abundance of caution. However, a locally-based citizens’ group called MapleGOOD (not affiliated with MRH) has offered to help distribute those types of items to where they are needed. They can be reached at MapleGOODmo@gmail.com
What about fresh produce or other perishable items?
- We can’t accept perishables, but MapleGOOD may be able to help you.
Can I purchase gift cards at this time?
- Due to logistical concerns, gift card donations are not ideal at this time. Please consider donating non-perishable food items or monetary donations in the form of a check.
I’d like to Volunteer! Can I help with distributing food? Or can I help to organize or package food for families?
- That’s so generous! And thank you for offering. However, in order to minimize surface contact on food items and inside the school buildings, WOW intentionally maintains a very small volunteer staff to manage food packaging and organization.
- That said, we would love to have the support of our community in the following ways:
- Make a donation as listed above
- Spread the word about how to donate by sharing with friends and on social media
- Other ways to support MRH families = connect with MapleGOOD.