“We’ve had a long standing relationship with Facebook,” said Ritchie Garland, director of marketing and community relations for Rutherford County Schools. “They gave $450,000 to outfit our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) labs in November and have given us more grants during the school year.”
Garland said Katie Comer, community development manager at Facebook, heard about the school closures due to COVID-19 and reached out to Garland to ask how they could assist the schools during this time.
“We knew we needed to upgrade our WiFi units,” Garland said. “Students use WiFi to access their curriculum. We also needed funding for our backpack program as well as our school nutrition program.”
Garland said since the churches have not been able to have actual services, their food pantries have dried up. The backpack program, where food is given for children to eat at home, has continued during the closure of the schools.