Family Focus

Assistant district attorney uses spare time to feed families in need during outbreak

Coronavirus is grinding the community to a halt as schools and some businesses are closing, and the health care industry is feeling the strain. However, the coronavirus outbreak is also bringing the best out in some people.

One of those people is Dionne Kelly, who by day is an assistant district attorney at Charlotte-Mecklenburg District Attorney's Office, but over the past week she has used her spare time in a mission she calls “Feed the Babies.”

“As I was preparing for COVID-19 and doing some extra grocery shopping, I know that there are many CMS students who rely on school for breakfast and lunch,” Kelly said. “Many of those students and families may not have the same opportunities to buy food right now.”

What started out as a simple goal to feed 50 families, turned into an overwhelming response from friends and strangers wanting to help to collect, sort and deliver food to families.

“What started as an individual and personal push for service turned into a call that mobilized our community,” Kelly said. “From making phone calls, grocery shopping, bagging food, praying for me and encouraging me, there are no words to express my gratitude.”

Despite being closed for regular business, Fuzion Force Dance and Fitness opened their doors to Kelly to be a collection and sorting distribution center.

“People donated food items and money from as far as New York,” Kelly said. “It was an overwhelming response, from what started as a humble call to service.”

The goal was to help 50 families, but by the end of the week they had helped 243.

As with most good deeds, those doing helping others usually receive a much bigger blessing from those they’ve helped.

One of those people was a thank you from a young student who didn’t know how his family was going to get through this crisis. In addition to the normal challenges, his mother is also battling cancer.

“He wasn’t sure what his mom was going to do. Their finances were an issue and he relied on going to school every day to eat,” Kelly said.

Without question, this has been a huge emotional experience for the volunteers who helped organize this effort.

“This was an action that would seem so insignificant was so essential for other people,” Kelly said.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at