Investing in local solutions; South Colonie teacher recognized for her work to help feed the Niskayuna Community

Jessica Lafex and family with bags for the weekend backpack program
Jessica Lafex, a teacher in South Colonie Central School District serves as pantry manager for NiskyNow, a weekend backpack program serving students.

Jessica LaFex, a grade 7/8 English teacher at South Colonie Central School District was recently recognized for her service as pantry manager of Nisky NOW (Nutrition on weekends), the Niskayuna Central School District’s weekend food program that runs year-round providing food and hygiene items to students.

In addition to LaFex’s daytime responsibilities of teaching English, she plans meals, organizes the food once delivered, and packs them into bags for families within the Niskayuna community.

According to the most recent copy of the Niskayuna Community Foundation’s newsletter Niskayuna Community Connections, 1 in 5 Niskayuna students receive free and reduced-price school meals with the needs continuing to rise.

teacher stands holding a bunch of freezer food
Jessica Lafex packs food into the new pantry cooler.

“Nisky NOW is truly a community effort and it is one I am privileged to be a part of,” said LaFex. “From our coordinators, our drivers, the student groups who support the program—and to those who donate to us—the only thing anyone ever wants to do is help. How lucky I am to live in and raise a family in a community like that!”

LaFex spends approximately 4-5 hours per week supporting NiskyNow.She also serves on the board of directors for Nisky NOW participating in fundraising and planning, leads two Girl Scout troops and serves as the president of two town parent-teacher organizations.  She dedicates countless hours and energy to the children and families in Niskayuna, including some of the most vulnerable.

“We are proud to see Jessica’s efforts continue to support students in the community she lives in,” said Dr. David Perry superintendent of schools. “Jessica has been a dedicated teacher in our district for over 15 years and it is no surprise that her work ethic and commitment to youth extends beyond the work day.”

LaFex was a 2022 recipient of the prestigious Jefferson Award for her work as pantry manager.

See the original story here.