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DASD schools partner with local organization to promote giving back

DASD schools partner with local organization to promote giving back
  • DEI
  • Elementary Schools

Downingtown Area School District has once again partnered with the “Take what you need; leave what you can,” organization, It Takes a Village of Chester County (ITAVC), to set up food donation boxes at local schools.

Known in DASD as Buddy Boxes, the food donation boxes remain unlocked at all times and house nonperishable food items and toiletries. This Giving Tuesday, and every day, residents are invited to donate items to support neighbors in need. All community members are invited to take items from the boxes at any time, for any reason.

Bradford Heights students paint the newly-installed Buddy Box.

Earlier this year, Buddy Boxes were installed at Beaver Creek Elementary School (601 West Pennsylvania Avenue, Downingtown) and East Ward Elementary School (435 Washington Avenue, Downingtown). With frequent visits from students and community members, the boxes provide a simple way to share food and supplies with those in need.

Due to the program’s success, DASD has installed two more boxes at local schools – one at Bradford Heights Elementary School (1330 Romig Rd, Downingtown) and one at Lionville Elementary School (526 W Uwchlan Ave, Downingtown). 

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Justin Brown hopes the boxes will provide some much-needed support in DASD. “Food insecurity is a reality for some students in DASD, with 3.3% of DASD residents falling below the poverty line. That translates to approximately 450 students who may be struggling with food insecurity. Access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food is a basic human right and one that helps set our students up for success.

“The Food Box program has been a beautiful experiment in paying it forward that’s proved more successful than we ever imagined,” ITAVC Executive Director Jennifer Smialowicz said. “We’ve heard countless stories of how the boxes helped families get through a difficult month or two when they had a few extra bills, and they come back later to stock the box for the next family in their shoes.”

In addition to the four at DASD schools, community food boxes are available throughout Chester County. To learn more about the boxes, visit  To learn more about how DEI work in DASD, visit