Food drive to assist children in summer

Worried about some of their students going hungry, C.B. Eller Elementary School administrators and year-round staff are starting their first Community Summer Food Drive.

Principal Chad L. Mann said, “This effort will support students (and their families) that are in need of meals during this break from school.” The goal of the program is to provide students identified as having a need with two bags of food per week during the summer break.

Tammy Darnell, secretary at the school, said students selected for the program include the 50-plus children who were provided food for the weekends during the regular school year through the C.B. Eller backpack program. Children at risk for not having enough food were provided a backpack full of nonperishable food items each Friday to ensure that they had enough to eat until they returned to school on Monday.

Not only will these students not be receiving the food provided through the backpack program while school is out, Darnell said some of them may not have access to the nutritious meals that the school offers during the week.

“We’ve asked some of the churches in the community to help us,” she said. The school is accepting donations of food and/or money to purchase food.

“Right now, we’ve just gotten monetary donations,” she said, “and I have gone out and bought food.”

Darnell said all parents of C.B. Eller Elementary School students were notified of the new program this week through the phone messaging system in an attempt to bring in more donations. “We’ve not gotten any responses from that yet,” she said.

Though it won’t be in backpacks, Darnell said school officials plan to deliver the food to students’ homes, including ready-to-eat items such as cereal and energy bars, pop tarts, fruit cups and beanie weenies. Easily prepared foods such as oatmeal, grits, cereal and canned ravioli will also be delivered to the children, she said, “anything that’s pretty simple for them to pull out of a cabinet and fix themselves.”

Anyone with questions about the Community Summer Food Drive may call C.B. Eller Elementary School at 336-903-6100 and ask for Tammy Darnell or Principal Chad Mann. Food or donations to buy food for the program can be dropped off at the school on weekdays during the summer from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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