Edina students work to provide meals for financially disadvantaged students

As the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the US, there’s been disruption to the lives of millions of Americans as people work from home, businesses close, and schools move to online instruction, including Edina Schools. Yet for many, there’s also several, less visible examples, including food insecurity. 

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 800 Edina High School students received free or reduced lunch and breakfast. The economic hardship as a result of shutdowns has further increased the need for meal aid for many. The Edina Meal Fund (EMF) is currently working to provide dinner to over 300 families, surpassing their usual role as a means to fundraise for school lunch debt relief. However, there remains a significant gap between how many meals are needed and the fund’s resources to provide them. In order to close this gap, organizations including a student group operating under the Edina Chinese Association have started fundraising efforts of their own. 

The student-run fundraiser includes two parts, the first of which is advertisements for the Meal Fund. The advertisements are designed to be shared on social media and over the internet in order to raise awareness for the EMF and attract donations. The second and primary fundraiser was a series of virtual panels featuring EHS seniors. In the panels, “[The seniors] share[d] their experiences of high schools,” EHS junior Evan Jiang said. “It range[d] from applications, to testing, to strategies and tips and tricks.” 

The April panel series had four main topics, which included information on the college preparation experience, selecting a college, applications, and reflections from Edina alumni on their own college education. 

The overarching goal of the seminars is to help promote the Meal Fund with an optional donation rather than admission fees. Jiang, along with several other students, planned and organized the panels. “We [had] to brainstorm the topics that we’[d] discuss, the questions that [were] going to be asked, and the panelists we want[ed] to select for them, et cetera,” Jiang said. “There [had] to be a lot of coordination.” 

The student group has plans to continue fundraising as long as the Edina Meal Fund is short of their $75,000 goal. “$75,000 is enough to last for a couple of months, and by then they’re hoping coronavirus will have died down to a point where students can resume,” Jiang said. Those who are interested in donating to the Meal Fund can do so here.