Local school, church and grocery store help feed families over holiday break

STANFORD – There is one group of families who won’t be going hungry over the holiday school break, thanks to the combined effort of a local school, church and grocery store. 

While Stanford Elementary School’s backpack program provides food assistance to students over weekends, there was no such program in place to cover the two-week period that students are out of school for Christmas break. With that in mind, the Stanford Church of Christ congregation stepped up to offer some help to those families. 

“We realize money is very tight this time of year with all the additional expenses and we, as a congregation, wanted to help,” the church stated in a letter to each of the recipients. 

When Durham’s Grocery in Stanford caught wind of the idea, they wanted to help too, the church said. 

“We were able to purchase food at a discounted rate so we could stretch our dollars,” the letter reads. “We were able to purchase enough food to help feed 20 different families this Christmas.” 

In partnership with SES Family Resource Center Coordinator Susan Miller, each of the 19 families enrolled in the backpack program received three to four boxes containing about 80 food items total, including about 45 different non-perishable foods.

Each family was given a 10-pound bag of potatoes and canned ham to take home as well, Miller said. 

Most people look forward to time off of school, but a break for students means a break from resources that are available at the school – something that Miller is always thinking about. 

“That was my biggest worry,” Miller said. “Most people see fall break, spring break and summer break, you know, it’s fun time off for us. But to me, I’m trying to find ways I can feed families.”

During those scheduled breaks, Miller said she typically delivers food to the families but since it’s her first year at SES, she has had to come up with different ways to make it happen. 

All it took was a phone call to the church and everything began to fall into place, she said. 

Boxes filled with an assortment of food lined the cafeteria tables Monday morning as families of SES’ backpack program were invited to pick them up and sign ‘thank you’ cards to be given to the church. 

“It’s God’s blessing,” said Marie Coleman, the mother of seven-year-old Dorothy Coleman, as she visited the elementary school to pick up the family’s boxes of food. 

Coleman said she appreciates the extra help and the boxes of food will help get her and her family through the holidays. 

Whitney Gosner, the mother of 10-year-old Evelyn Gosner, agreed and said the backpack program has been a big help for her family and they’re looking forward to enjoying the food they received Monday. 

“I think it’s really good,” she said. “It helps the kids a lot.”

Miller said the giving nature of Lincoln County residents is one of the reasons she loves to call the area home. 

“If you go to Lincoln County churches and businesses and ask them to give, they will,” she said.