Staff members putting school supply bags together

Buncombe County Schools teacher assistants and other support staff are leading by example and anchoring our community during this trying time.

They have gathered every day at Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. Discovery Academy to organize supplies and deliver them to families facing supply shortages. Thanks to their efforts and generous donations from across the county, we have created a Family Resource Center with food, school supplies, toiletries and hygiene products, coins for laundromats, diapers, baby formula, and more.

Jason Hyatt, a first-grade teacher assistant at Barnardsville Elementary School, said the aide mobilization is an expansion of what school staff already do to support students and their families.

“It’s so much more than education,” he said. “We meet the needs of our kids outside of that every day. And we’re continuing to give to kids even though we’re not in the school building. That’s awesome.”

While several elementary and intermediate schools have set up “drive-thru” meal sites and have sent buses to population centers, not everyone is able to reach those locations, said BCS Foster Care and Homeless Liaison Shannon Boyd. The creation of the Family Resource Center is meant to close that gap.

“We’re helping families who do not have transportation or who have a financial hardship that prevents them from coming to our meal sites,” she said. “We’re making sure our families get what they need.”

On Thursday, Ms. Boyd briefed teacher assistants and other support staff about food and supply deliveries. Then they hopped in cars and dispersed throughout the county to make deliveries. Others stayed behind to organize and prepare additional supplies as they came in.

“They just want to be out in the community,” Ms. Boyd said. “They want to help in any way they can.”

Brenda Young, a second-grade teacher assistant at Avery’s Creek Elementary School, spent Friday sorting through baby supplies and food to get families through the weekend. Surrounding her were others who turned the Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. Discovery Academy cafeteria into a care package sorting center.

“It’s wonderful that everyone is coming out to help,” said “It’s really great. It’s helping the students and their families.”

Throughout the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis, BCS will maintain the website for the latest up-to-date information about meal locations, Virtual Days online classes, coronavirus prevention, and other resources.

Do you have a neighbor, friend, family member that are unable to get to our meal sites or bus locations due to lack of transportation? Do you need extra help with food boxes, school supplies, hygiene supplies, diapers, wipes, or laundry detergent, due to financial hardship? Please call 828-225-4768 to ask for assistance, between the hours of 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

School supplies assembly area