Up 2 Us Foundation’s origins reflect the shared responsibility of community and the power of a society that serves and supports each other. This is reflected in the logo that is the West African symbol for support, cooperation and encouragement.
Our logo reflects the proverb “Woforo dua pa a” - “when you climb a good tree”, from the expression “Woforo dua pa a, na yepia wo” meaning “When you climb a good tree, you are given a push”. In other words, it tells us that when we work for a good cause, we will get support.
The Up 2 Us Foundation logo is part of a category of symbols called Adinkra. These visual symbols encapsulate evocative messages conveying traditional wisdom, philosophical thoughts, ideas or aspects of life or the environment. One of Up 2 Us Foundation’s co-founders, Tazeen Ahmad grew up in West Africa. As she spent many years of her childhood in Gambia it was only fitting to bring a small piece of the beautiful traditions and philosophical thoughts she learned from her old home to the organization she co-founded in her new home country, America.
The Blue Bag Program is Up 2 Us Foundation's 1st initiative dedicated to serving children in food insecure households in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Every week one student from each household receives a weekend food bag. The bag contains a variety of foods such as whole grains, low sodium canned vegetables, one protein and healthy snack items that can be shared by the whole family.
Why Blue Bag?
About 71% of the earth's surface is covered in blue water. Blue symbolizes loyalty, strength, and trust. Blue seeks peace and security. The color blue is said to be calming and have a positive impact on the mind and body. The Blue Bag Program seeks to provide peace of mind and security to the families we serve.
Experts are estimating the unemployment rate will to rise to 16% by May as a result of the effects of COVID-19.
During these challenging times millions of Americans are struggling to put food on the table.
The Problem: Meals are available to families with children during the week, but there is a gap during the weekend because school meal sites are closed. In addition to this, food pick-up sites are unable to accommodate families who are not mobile for various reasons or do not have children.
The Solution: In order to support our neighbors who are not mobile and do not have access to food during the weekend, Up 2 Us Foundation has a “Stay at Home Bag” program. Volunteers at Up 2 Us deliver 8 pound grocery bags directly to the doorsteps of families who may not have transportation or are unable to go to the grocery store to buy food every week.
In June 2020 Up 2 Us distributed 500 boxes of free produce every week to families in need through a drive-up grocery box pick up called “Groceries 2 Go!”.
The fresh produce was provided through a USDA program called, “Farmers to Families.” Up 2 Us Foundation hosted 4 distributions. Three distributions took place at Montgomery College, Rockville campus and one took place at Highland Elementary School.
The produce boxes contain 25 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Future dates for this event will be announced soon.
This event is in partnership with the Montgomery County Food Security Task Force, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Commission for Women, Montgomery County Public Schools, and Councilmember Evan Glass.
In the summer of 2019, Up 2 Us Foundation collaborated with Manna Food Center to provide weekend food bags to 75 families who have children attending Harmony Hills Elementary School.
Up 2 Us currently serves 44 families at the Discovery Station Early Head Start in Gaithersburg, Maryland. This child development program focuses on serving pregnant women, infants, and toddlers under the age of 3.
In January 2020 Up 2 Us Foundation teamed up with Thomas Edison High School in Silver Spring, Maryland to provide weekly food bags to 40 families.