Well over 1,000 families were able to restock their pantry shelves Saturday thanks to efforts by a local civic club and the Bulloch County Board of Education.
A food drop of more than 80,000 pounds of groceries lasted only a few hours but helped an amazing number families in need, said DeWayne Grice, head of the Bulloch County Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, or VOAD, which helped organize the event.
A $5,000 donation by the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro helped get the food from Second Harvest in Savannah, he said. Volunteers from the club, as well as VOAD and Bulloch County Schools, gathered at Julia P. Bryant Elementary School on Saturday to distribute the food. The concern over a two-week gap between the BOE’s Feed-a-Kid summer meal program and the start of school, where kids get breakfast and lunch, was the focus of the food drop, said Statesboro Kiwanis Club President Chris Caplinger.
The event “went well, and seemed to move very quickly,” he said.
Kiwanis addresses the needs and concerns of children, and club members reached out to the BOE and VOAD to find a way to make sure children and their families did not go hungry, he said.
Bulloch County BOE member Mike Sparks was one of the volunteers who spent the morning handing out several days’ worth of food to families who attended the food drop.
The event was “well organized, and there were plenty of volunteers,” he said.
“Everybody was concerned” about the two weeks when kids in need would not get school-provided meals, he said.
“The turnout was awesome,” Grice said. “We had some extra pallets of food, so we were able to help more than the 1,000 families we expected.”
The BOE summer meal program ended July 31. School is slated to start Aug. 17.
Plans to provide meals for students who take virtual classes are being discussed, Grice said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.