Volunteers pack more than 100 meals for seniors, students who now won't get fed at school

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- While schools and organizations close amid coronavirus fears, one organization in Raleigh remains open to make sure kids who rely on free and reduced lunch at schools to get the meals they need.

Less than a dozen volunteers from St. Paul AME Church in Raleigh took on a big job at the Interfaith Food Shuttle. They assembled packages of canned and boxed food that equal more than 100 meals.

The work's appreciated by Laura Rice of the Interfaith Food Shuttle: "They will bag up the produce, the nonperishable grocery items and deliver them to seniors in low-income areas."

"And we do it because we know that they need their food," said Gwen Allen, one of the St. Paul AME volunteers. "They depend on us to come down and drop the food off, and we're trying to do it for them."

Their work fills a growing need now, as coronavirus concerns have some people clearing grocery store shelves while shopping for essentials in case they're told to spend days inside their homes for safety.

That's one reason why Rice said they plan even more activity in the days ahead to make sure no one goes hungry, especially students who miss breakfasts or lunches while their school's closed.

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"Five hundred blast frozen meals. We're gonna start that on Monday and deliver them throughout mobile market program," she said.

They will need even more help in the week ahead, because students are out across the state and they depend on school meals programs like this for nutrition. So organizers hope viewers can find time to help pack those meals for those who really need the assist.

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While some people worry about participating in group activities during these days of social distancing, Gwen Allen urges everyone to consider stepping up the way she and others from her church did on Saturday.

"We can't run scared. We just have to be careful, and put Him first. When you put Him first, you don't have to fear anything," said Allen.
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