Raleigh catering company works to feed Wake County students, families

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- With schools closed across North Carolina because of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of students are not receiving the meals they normally get at school.

In Wake County, there are 51,000 students who depend on the free and reduced lunch program. Many organizations are stepping up to provide lunch and breakfast snacks to about 17,000 students, leaving thousands that still need to be fed.

In Raleigh, Rocky Top Catering is helping to bridge the gap. Rocky Top is working with the Raleigh-based non-profit organization, Overflowing Hands and the Wake County Public School System to help feed the 34,000 still in need of meals. The catering company is going even further, providing meals that will feed students' entire families.

"These families are all in the same boat we're all in," explained Rocky Top Catering owner Dean Ogan. "They're mostly at home, they're unemployed. And, there's something very, very satisfying about being able to provide somebody with a healthy meal."

Ogan providing the assistance while he faces his own struggle from the coronavirus crisis. April is a huge month for weddings which means it's an important revenue generator for Rocky Top Catering in Raleigh. "It's a huge wedding month, we lost over 60 weddings," Ogan said. Despite having to lay off most of his staff, Ogan and the staff he has been able to keep on the payroll as well as others who are now volunteering spend days preparing the healthy meals. All have their temperatures taken before working on the food with masks, gloves, and other CDC recommended precautions taken with each shift.

"We're doing a little over 4,000 meals today," Ogan said as he handed out meals at Fox Road Elementary School in Raleigh. "The meal today is penne pasta with a homemade tomato sauce, fresh ground turkey."

The meals are being distributed on Mondays and Thursdays. Ogan said the school system notifies families.

"We will continue doing this for as long as necessary," Ogan said.

To help contribute to feed students with Rocky Top Catering and Overflowing Hands, click here.
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