Employees Unite to Support Student Needs

By Communication and Community Relations
November 28, 2022

In honor of Thanksgiving, this week we’re featuring FCPS CARES nominees who have provided a good example of the spirit of giving. 

Jenny Murphy, learning disabilities teacher at Kilmer Middle School, nominated Gina North, curriculum resource teacher in Special Services; Heather Murphy, athletic trainer, and Caroline Taylor, physical education teacher, both from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology; and Kent Hulnick, athletic trainer from South Lakes HS. 

Gina visited Jenny’s classroom about a year ago, helping her set up reading classes, and they discussed how Kilmer Middle School needed a clothing pantry. Gina brought in the first set of clothes for the Kilmer clothing pantry, and visited the school after hours to help establish it.

“Gina is still involved with the clothing pantry at Kilmer a year later by bringing in donations from her home as well as from her neighbors and coworkers,” Jenny said in her FCPS Cares Nomination. “The Kilmer Pantry is very thankful for Gina's support.” 

“I always feel super supported by Gina,” Jenny said. “Fairfax County Public Schools needs more people like Gina. She definitely goes above and beyond. Whoever works with/alongside her, is truly blessed!”

In addition to Gina, Jenny also nominated Heather, Caroline, and Kent for supporting the Clothing Pantry. Heather invited athletic trainers across the county to lend their support to the effort. “Heather, Caroline, and Kent donated many boxes of clothes along with school supplies,” Jenny said. “Heather makes a monthly donation of brand new clothes for the pantry and keeps spreading the word of our current needs to her coworkers. The Kilmer pantry is very thankful for their constant support.”

This holiday season, we know many employees and offices are working together to help others in our community. Share below, email photos of your service efforts to [email protected], or recognize a colleague through FCPS CARES

Jenny Murphy, a learning disabilities teacher at Kilmer Middle School, shared the following story: 

Jenny Murphy and her mother check out with food for a food pantryOver thanksgiving break, I went to a local grocery story in Buxton, N.C. I got picked to play “super market sweep” at Conner’s Grocery store. They let me pick someone to help me shop, so I picked my mom. We played the game and had 3 minutes to shop. All the items we “shopped” for we donated to the local food pantry.

The grocery store and another local business matched the value of our shopping. We gathered $964.57 worth of food, so the local food pantry got all of our food and $2,000! We met the two people who run the food pantry before we shopped and asked what items they needed/wanted.

All the people at Conner’s, the food pantry, and the local business were shocked we donated all the food. It was so wonderful to be on vacation and be able to help their local food pantry. 

Ways to Give Back

If you are looking for ways to give back, visit Volunteer Fairfax for volunteering opportunities or consider donating to Educate Fairfax in one of the following ways. 

Educate Fairfax is holding a gift card drive for FCPS employees who want to provide help to newcomer students in Fairfax County supported by the FCPS Homeless Liaison Office. This school year has brought many newcomers to our community from all parts of the world. For many of these families, securing essential needs such as clothing, medicine, emergency food, and hygiene supplies is a struggle. Employees can donate funds directly to Educate Fairfax to be used to purchase gift cards from a variety of stores throughout the year.    

Physical gift cards or checks (payable to Educate Fairfax) can be mailed (by January 6) to: 

  Patti Parisi
  Gatehouse Administration Center, #4214        
  8115 Gatehouse Road                          
  Falls Church, VA  22042

Last year, through the kindness and generosity of FCPS employees, family, and friends, we collected more than $6,800 in cash and gift cards. 

Additionally, Educate Fairfax is raising funds to support their four focus areas: Kids in Need, Literacy, Employee Recognition, and Classroom Grants. And this year, they’ve added one more–the Innovators' Fund. This fund will assist students across all levels in FCPS to learn more about STEAM, innovate in their classrooms, and spark interest in technology and engineering careers. Contributions to the Innovators' Fund will be matched up to the first $50,000. Visit Educate Fairfax to make your end of the year donation.