Feeding Our Students and Families

Hello, my name is Jessica Jung and I'm a longtime teacher at Bridges Academy  (school website)  in Oakland, California. Bridges Academy is a public elementary school for students in preschool-5th grade and is a part of the Oakland Unified School District.

Our teachers and staff are urgently trying to raise money to support our Bridges Academy community during the COVID-19 crisis. The city of Oakland went into "shelter in place" as of March 16th along with the rest of the Bay Area so we can keep our community safe. 

However, many of our students and families are now struggling to survive the "shelter in place" as they do not have sufficient food and funds to supply their basic needs like diapers. Even in best of times, all of our families qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, so life is that much harder now as many families have reduced work hours or none at all. Food supply is dwindling during the twice a week food banks in Oakland for students. Many families are unable to go the food distribution locations without transportation. Families are worried about not having enough money to pay for their cell phone bills, which is the main way many of our students are accessing online academic content since they don't have Internet and other devices at home.

Funds will be used to provide food and other basic needs for our 480 students and their families in the form of cash donations or Visa gift cards. We want to empower families to make their own decisions about what to purchase with the funds, as each families' needs are different. Also, our families have variously dietary needs and preferences, so providing a more flexible way to access food and other necessities would help them greatly in this stressful time. 

We hope to get some of these resources to our families as soon as possible, especially in the case of families who were expecting a paycheck that is not coming. All donations and withdrawals will be tracked and documented by our school leadership team and funds will be distributed to our students' families using an equity formula so we can provide some relief to our most vulnerable families. We will follow all government orders and recommendations for safety as we distribute these donations to the families. Funds will be withdrawn by me (Jessica Jung) via a personal bank account, but all withdrawals will be overseen by the school principal, Anita Iverson-Comelo, and our Community Schools Manager, Rosana Covarrubias. 

We know everyone is struggling, but we hope you will contribute to this fund to support and provide for the most vulnerable members of our community. We anticipate that school closures will go beyond spring break, in which case our students and families will need additional support in the coming weeks and months, so we hope you will consider making a recurring monthly donation for the next 3 months, if it's within your capacity. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!! Sending love and wishes of good health to you from East Oakland!
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Jessica Jung
Oakland, CA

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