Feeding Chantilly aims at assisting impoverished communities


Shreeja Tangutur

On Oct. 19, Feeding Chantilly president and senior Nebeela Ahmed gives food to senior Sarah Yaregal in the cafeteria as food distribution is a common focus of the club.

Shreeja Tangutur, Unity and Social Media Director

With an average of 60,000 FCPS students facing food insecurity, according to Fairfax County, senior Nebeela Ahmed has jumped into action in efforts to combat the issue.
Wanting to focus on local issues, she created “Feeding Chantilly,” a non-profit organization and school club aimed at helping impoverished neighborhoods by donating food and funds. The club will also focus on creating food and toy drives to assist those in need later in the year. 

“The idea came to me last year during the holidays when I saw how much people emphasized food drives and toy drives,” Ahmed said. “I realized that people only think of giving back to others in need during specific times; however, people are suffering year-round, and I wanted to change that.”

A club meeting typically consists of brainstorming ideas for new fundraisers and planning for food drives. Afterward, club members decide which food shelters they will donate to and volunteer at.

“I volunteer at Our Neighbors Child, a charity which helps families in need,” club sponsor Karen Fiala said. “[Having] seen first hand the needs of students in Chantilly, it is important to have this club which focuses on volunteering, which is an integral part of that club to give back.”

In addition to working with clubs such as the Human Equal Rights Organization to create food drives, one of the club’s independent projects is to create grab bags. Club members will collect non-perishable food items by placing collection boxes around the school in mid-November. Members will then sort items into bags and hand them out in the cafeteria before the Thanksgiving holidays. 

“This activity can directly impact students at the school,” Fiala said. “It would be terrific if every student at Chantilly that has the means could donate.” 

Additionally, the club provides opportunities for students, such as receiving service hours for time spent in club meetings and activities. Also, according to Fiala, the club teaches skills including organization and sensitivity to others’ needs.

“This club has increased my compassion, making me realize the impact a small group of people can make,” club senior Shamayah Nutifafa said.

Offering positions in different disciplines for students interested, the club assigns particular roles for students gaining leadership expertise and taking on a role to benefit the community. These include Social Media Manager who will work to publicize the clubs efforts on platforms such as Instagram and Outreach Director who works to contact different facilities to assist. 

“I am interested in being Outreach Director because through organizing campaigns and partnering with local businesses, I can make a difference in both our school and outside community,” Nutifafa said. 

The club’s next meeting will be on 11/9 in room 262. Students interested in the club can visit @feedingchantilly on  Instagram or through the club’s Schoology with the code ZCZN-GK9X-DR6DS. 

“I think that Feeding Chantilly is a good way to spread awareness to things that we are often blinded towards,” Ahmed said. “Things such as food insecurity aren’t talked about as much as they should be. This is a place where students can come and know that they are bringing about a change and giving back to others who are suffering.”