Dublin Neighborhood Bridges has started two new programs to attempt to better meet community needs during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The nonprofit Bridges organization, uses technology and social media to advocate for children and families in need, said Jill Kranstuber, who together with fellow Dublin resident Sarah Savage serves as area director of the program.

Teachers, guidance counselors, the Dublin Food Pantry, Welcome Warehouse and Syntero often alert the program to community needs, Kranstuber said, and the requests are posted on Bridges' website and via social media and email.

Community members may donate requested items or money, she said.

But as Dublin residents have coped with living in a world with COVID-19, Dublin Bridges has offered new ways to support them.

The organization has collected a list of volunteers willing to shop for immune-compromised people, Kranstuber said, and it began a snacks-for-students program to supplement the grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches offered by Dublin City Schools.

Dublin Bridges has personal-care pantries in each of the district's school buildings during the school year, and snacks are the most popular items, Kranstuber said. When school moved online, district officials realized families' access to snacks for their children could be an issue, she said.

Many children could be home by themselves, or parents could be working from home and not able to provide snacks when a child wants them, Savage said.

"They need to eat more than just breakfast, lunch and dinner," Kranstuber said.

So on Fridays, Dublin Bridges volunteers hand out snack bags at the locations the district has for its breakfasts and lunches distributions, Krastuber said.

The bags contain a week's worth of snacks, including such items as macaroni and cheese, granola bars and apple sauce, Savage said.

Fridays have become the most popular day for the grab-and-go meals, Kranstuber said, because families know the snack bags are there that day. She said Dublin Bridges distributes as many as 500 snack bags per week.

The school district is continuing its grab-and-go locations during the summer, Dublin Bridges also will continue handing out the snack bags at those locations, Kranstuber said.

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