Neighbors helping neighbors: Organizations, parents collect food for students during school closures

Updated: Mar. 16, 2020 at 7:02 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Community members and local organizations are stepping up to help while North Carolina schools are closed for the next two weeks. Several groups, including neighbors looking for a way to help, are collecting food donations to help students who rely on free breakfast and lunches during school.

Several school districts are providing meals starting on Tuesday, including CMS. But local groups are looking for ways to help and hopefully make it more convenient for students who need help.

One of those groups is Bags of Hope. Over the weekend they prepared more than 700 bags for the more than 400 students.

“There are a lot of kids who experience food insecurity but especially in a time like this,” said board member, Jennie Pauling.

The organization works mainly in the Cornelius area and serves more than 400 students every single week. They were preparing for an early spring break release but went in to high gear after Governor Cooper’s announcement to close all schools over the weekend.

“I think it was definitely a mad rush, because we thought we had until Wednesday and then we found out it was Monday," Pauling said.

But the community rallied and over the weekend they had dozens of volunteers and donations to make sure nobody went hungry.

There were people all over the warehouse, packing, weighing, breaking down cardboard," said Ashley Fazal, another board member.

Hundreds of bags later, the group is distributing them to students this week.

“We’re going to do whatever we can do during this whole period of uncertainty,” Pauling said.

In East Charlotte, neighbors are helping neighbors. Sybil Noble organzied her own food drive on the Neighbors app for families who might not be able to make it to certain CMS locations.

CMS providing free meals for students during school closings over coronavirus

“Given that some of these lower income families might not always have a mode of transportation.The thought of trying to take kids on public transportation in order to secure food," Noble said. "I just thought why not take the food to them.”

She’s spent the last few days talking with apartment complexes near her who might have students living there who would be affected. She’s loading up her car and taking the donation to apartment complexes so parents can easily walk down and grab what they need.

"We do want to be aware that there are children out there who are facing hunger. Anything we can do to make a positive impact, is what our mission is."

If you’d like to donate to Bags of Hope, you can find more information on their website:

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