INDIAN LAND, S.C. (WBTV) - A local church is volunteering to provide a food pantry for Indian Land students who are in need during the coronavirus outbreak.
This comes after a school in Lancaster County didn’t have a place students can pick up lunch and breakfast while school is out. The closest spot was about 20-minutes away. The food program started on Tuesday for Lancaster County Schools, but in Indian Land, a federal law was blocking the district from opening a site.
Director of Transportation and Safety Bryan Vaughn says Indian Land was on the request lists for food sites - but it was denied. Vaughn says the South Carolina Department of Education denied the request because it didn’t meet the criteria.
On Tuesday evening, officials say Transformation Church volunteered to provide a food pantry for students who are in need.
The food pantry will be on Fridays beginning on March 27. The time is to be determined. The location will be in the parking lot area between Indian Land High and Middle. Transformation Church will be providing food to students and their family who are privately identified by the school district.
South Carolina Department of Education Chief Communications Officer Ryan Brown says the United States Department of Agriculture requires 50 percent of students in a school to be on free or reduced lunch to open a site.
As of right now, the Department of Education enacted the summer meals program. Lydia Quinn, Lancaster County Schools chief operating officer, says that program only allows the district to open food sites near schools with 50 percent of students on free or reduced lunch. The average percentage of kids with free or reduced lunch in Indian Land schools is about 15 percent.
Tille Kerna, whose student goes to Indian Land High, says there needs to be a change.
"It's more kids than you think that go without food. We have to take care of the kids in the community that are struggling and families that are struggling.”>
Transformation Church nor anyone unrelated to the school district will be given any personal information about the students or family members. Lancaster County Schools has created a voucher with a raised seal that must be presented to receive the food. The voucher will be hole punched for the given week of the food pantry. The voucher has no identifying information (to protect your privacy) and families will not need to provide anything other that the voucher to receive food. The vouchers will be mailed out to qualifying families in the next few days by the school district.
“This is a tremendous community outreach that Transformation has agreed to take on.We are incredibly grateful for their love and commitment to our students and their well being. Once the final time slot is nailed down we will inform parents,” said Bryan Vaughn, from Lancaster County Schools.