Argetina Aquino is the Parent Liaison at First Avenue School in Newark. Affectionately called Miss Aquino by parents and kids alike, she has administered CFBNJ’s Family Pack program at the school for nearly two years. Miss Aquino notes that the program has improved the health and well-being of students while building community among the parents and school staff.
“We have a lot of diverse families here in Newark,” she told us. “The school has really built trust with them through the Family Pack program.”
She notes that Family Packs are especially helpful to immigrant families who have been vulnerable to the economic fallout of the pandemic, providing them with a secure source of food. The program has also helped families that were recently affected by Hurricane Ida.
Miss Aquino speaks of one student’s household, where nearly everything was lost in the storm, saying, “The Family Pack program gives them one less thing to worry about as they rebuild.”
Some of the parents who receive Family Packs have even become volunteers, helping to hand out the boxes every other week.
Miss Aquino and her eleven-year-old daughter, who has elevated cholesterol, are also recipients of the program. “I’m grateful that it keeps my daughter healthy,” she said.
She is especially appreciative of the fresh produce that’s included with each box, and she knows that the other parents are, too. About 300 Family Packs are given out at each of First Avenue School’s distributions.
“The Family Pack program does not only provide food but also healthy alternatives, as well,” she concluded. “There are even recipes inside to help parents stay on track with their kids’ health.”