Ossining High School Students Build Skills as they Help Vulnerable Families

Ossining High School sophomore Jay-Lin Marbury pushes a cart full of bags of food up a hill to deliver them to DoorDash drivers.

Every Tuesday, Ossining High School sophomore Jay-Lin Marbury has a reminder for his teacher, Patricia Guerin: “Tomorrow’s DoorDash,” he tells her.

Each week, she tells him, “Bring your muscles and your sneakers.”

Ms. Guerin and her class play a key role in distributing food to vulnerable families in Ossining. They work with the district’s OPRIME program to prepare and hand out bags of fresh fruits and vegetables from Feeding Westchester to DoorDash drivers, who deliver them to households. The United Way of Westchester and Putnam funds a grant to coordinate the program with the food delivery company.

“They love it. It gives them a sense of pride, responsibility,” Ms. Guerin said of the seven special education students. “The DoorDash drivers are so nice and we’re getting regulars now. The same drivers come every week, so we have relationships.”

The Board of Education, Superintendent Raymond Sanchez and Megan Mastrogiacomo, the district’s community school leader, recognized Ms. Guerin and her students at the board’s Jan. 19 meeting. Ms. Mastrogiacomo said Ms. Guerin and her students were the first to offer their help when the United Way, Feeding Westchester and the Ossining School District set up the program in 2020.

Ossining High School sophomore Jessica Morocho helps gather a load of bags of produce for drivers to deliver.

Initially, they sorted and packed bags for about 65 families, and general education students helped deliver it to drivers after school.  Now, the bags that arrive pre-packed, and the students pack bags into DoorDash drivers’ cars for some 180 families.

“This program is a beautiful example of relative learning,” Ms. Mastrogiacomo said. “Students are supporting our community and practicing their job skills that could possibly support them in a future occupation. I cannot thank them enough for all of their hard work.”

One Wednesday in December, Ms. Guerin and her students were handing out bags that included apples, asparagus, carrots and oranges. Drivers started pick-ups around 11 a.m. Jay-Lin and his classmates counted out the bags, placed them on a cart and pushed it up a small hill to give the food to drivers.

Sophomore Jessica Morocho said helping with the program makes her feel good. “It’s nice to give food to the people,” she said.

“Sometimes there’s extra food we can take home,” she added.

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