FIU After-School All-Stars helps families during COVID-19 pandemic

By Julie Todaro

Millions of students, teachers and families depend on school resources for more than learning. For many, this includes food.

To help families get through the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok has committed $3 million to After-School All-Stars to provide critical meal support for those in need. The donation, which was distributed across 60 U.S. cities, recently provided Publix gift cards to 500 All-Star families in South Florida to help them purchase groceries. When the announcement was made earlier this spring, After-School All-Stars founder and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said improvisation is critical and everyone has to look for new ways to help the most vulnerable in times of crisis.

Getting the gift cards to the families was a big undertaking since the schools were closed, but the team found a way, said Julie Todaro, development and marketing manager for FIU ASAS. The staff worked with the parents to arrange a safe pick up at different locations around Miami including schools ASAF provides programs at, and FIU’s Modesto Madique campus.

Rolando Alverez, who is a teacher at Coral Way K-8 Center, said the gift card came at an opportune time as it’s been difficult for him to keep up with his bills.

“My family and I would like to express our deepest gratitude for having received your generous gift. We are four at home, plus my elderly mother, whom I support. This gift card will allow us the opportunity to stock up on meat items, which are the most expensive.”

To maximize the impact of the donation, Publix Supermarkets provided discounts for each gift card.