Community steps up to make sure Chester County students do not go hungry

Community steps up to make sure Chester County students do not go hungry

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A community in Chester County has pitched in to serve meals to students who need them most.

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In May, Chester County schools temporarily stopped serving meals to students after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

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But the community refused to let those children go hungry. They stepped up, and did so quickly.

Dozens of volunteers in Fort Lawn, Chester and Great Falls start early in the morning, packing the lunches for students -- about 1,000 of them a day. Then, they drive to a local park three days a week, loaded with the bagged lunches to hand them to students and their families.

In Fort Lawn, volunteers turned the community center into a makeshift cafeteria, making 360 bag lunches at a time. Pastor Patrick Roddey helped launch the lunch line.

“We knew there were hungry children," he said. "We could not sit by and not allow them to have food, while the school district was unable to provide it.”

There was no budget for such an effort, so people have donated and bought food to make sure the kids don’t go hungry. They’re filling the gap left when the district had to stop serving in order to quarantine employees for two weeks.

If all 130 meals that volunteer Laural Coleman carries aren’t claimed, Coleman said she delivers them.

“I’ve knocked on doors, and had six, eight children to come out of that one house, to come get food," she said.

For Coleman and the others helping their community, it’s a huge blessing.

“Some parents were saying that they weren’t going to get the food anymore," said Coleman. "It broke my heart.”

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Chester County schools plan to restart the district meal service the week after next, and they’re extremely grateful for how volunteers and churches have jumped into action to fill the void.

School districts offering meal programs during mandated closure