Where do we start? We believe in our community. They are not disappointing us!
Free lunches were and are available through YMCA at Forest Park Elementary school in the summer. Then and now, very few are able to bring the children to school to eat the lunches. In the summer of 2014, a group of volunteers working with the YMCA and First Baptist Church had an idea. They wanted to feed the children, who were food insecure over the summer school break. Since the children weren’t coming to the school, what if they delivered the lunches to the children? They had very little resources, very few volunteers and not many people even had knowledge of what they were attempting to do. Guess what? They did it! As people in the community find out about the program, they join in the effort to feed the kids.
At the beginning of the Summer Program 2016, there were sufficient funds to feed 183 children a day. By the end of the Summer 2017 we were feeding 619 children each weekday. At the end of Summer 2018 were feeding over 800 children daily. How did that happen? It was made possible by the individuals, organizations, children, adults, families, churches, Girl Scouts, youth sports teams and small businesses. There were no big grants that were received, just many people with big hearts and a generous spirit.
By the end of the Summer Program 2018 we served over 38,000 lunches and bottles of water over the summer to the children of Clay County.
How do we do this? A child set up a lemonade stand to raise money to “feed the kids.” Girl Scouts donated time and collected food for the program. Wallace Brothers donated a dumpster for our trash. Families donate in memory of their husband, son, daughter, mother, and father. Families and foundations donate in honor of children lost. The VFW had fun raisers for the program. Individuals donated. Churches donated. Volunteers donated. The local Dairy Queen keeps us supplied in spoons. Girls Scouts raise funds and donate food. Local businesses have food drives. Our volunteers issue food donation challenges to their friends and share information about sales of the foods we use. Vacation Bible School’s make our kids their mission. Children give us their life savings to help other children. Churches donate to the Program. Volunteers have community yard sales and Christmas Fundraiser events. Donations are received in memory of loved ones. A donation was made to feed a child in honor of the birth of a grandchild. Children ask for food donations for the program be brought to their birthday party. The list goes on. Each just does what they are led to do to help the kids.
With every donation, we hear the words, “I’m sorry. I know it isn’t enough.” Yet, when we put it all together, we are getting the job done.
So we stepped out in faith to start the School Program for the 2016/2017 school year. Green Leaf donated food to get the School Program up and running the day the School Program was announced.
Duke Energy and our community made Christmas Delivery 2018 delivery possible and we delivered food and water to 940 children.
Cory Community Church of the Nazarene is delivering and packing food for the Clay City area. We have a home at First Baptist Church in Clay County North. An employee for Annunciation Catholic Church delivers on her lunch hour in the Summer and members of the Church join her. Staunton Christian Church coordinates delivery drivers in the area during the summer. First Christian Church allows us space for our “big” Summer Deliveries. Many small churches support our kids through food and financial donations. We call ourselves the Church. The denomination of this Church is Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Methodist, Nazarene, non-denominational, Independent and Pentecostal. The list of people, churches, and organizations supporting feeding the kids is unbelievable.
We are packing for 350 plus kids School Program 18/19. We we fed over 800 children each week day in Clay County Summer 2018 and 940 kids for Christmas Delivery 2018.
How are we doing this? We aren’t. Our community is accomplishing this by working together. Almost every donation is given with the words, “I’m sorry. I know it isn’t enough.” We know we are in good hands. Guess what happens when we put it all together? We are doing the impossible. Someone is in charge and it isn’t us.
We believe in our community.