Schools fight hunger

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Schools in Charlotte County are on the forefront of fighting hunger with their Operation Food and Friendship Initiative.

“Operation Food and Friendship has been a valuable outreach and service program for our students and families who are food insecure,” said Superintendent of Charlotte County Schools Nancy Leonard. “The mission came about out of caring teachers and administrators who saw a need and worked collaboratively to help our children and families.”

According to a press release from the school division, the purpose of the operation is to provide healthy snack and meal options to students, as well as individual families over

the weekends and holidays.

“Education is a partnership between the school and families with help from the extended community,” Eureka Elementary Principal Brian Hamilton said. “While the school’s major role is to provide an education to all of our students, we cannot do this without helping to make sure that the basic needs of our students are met.” 

He said Operation Food and Friendship is one way that the school can further help students with support from the community.

“Individuals, churches, businesses and various organizations contribute to Operation Food and Friendship,” Leonard said.

Operation Food and Friendship has helped to aid approximately 90 students within the last year, according to the school division.

“Our goal is to collect enough non-perishable pre-portioned items to send backpacks home with these students on a weekly basis,” the release stated.  “…This is a community effort. The families receiving these meals may be your neighbors or even members of your own family.”

The program will operate through May 19.

“We sincerely appreciate the outpouring of compassion from the community for our students. Our children are precious and we will continue to find ways such as establishing programs like Operation Food and Friendship to meet their needs,” Leonard said.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the program can drop off goods at Central Middle School, located at 250 Statesmen Drive in Charlotte Court House.

Suggested donations include soups, Ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, fruit cups, trail mix, popcorn, chips, snack crackers and cereal bars.

For more information about Operation Food and Friendship, contact Lawrence Randolph at (434) 542-453 ext. 4305.