Community volunteer program work to feed kids weekly

Published: Apr. 10, 2020 at 3:35 AM EDT
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What started as an individual task to make sure children were fed throughout Monongalia County, it turned into a partnership.

“We decided to feed kids during lunch,” said the owner of Bartini Prime, Justin Byers. He used his restaurant to help students in the county during the pandemic. “We started talking to the schools to figure out the best way to do it and the best way to help out,” he said.

Feed Mon Kids was created in order to reach more children and families. The community volunteer program helps the county’s board of education distribute breakfast and lunches to students in need, providing five breakfast and lunch meals.

The program just added family packs to make sure an entire family, a part from the kids, can have food.

They’ve been meeting for the past three weeks to pack and deliver food.

“It was heartbreaking, actually, when we had to shut down the schools,” Ron Lytle, the president of the Monongalia County Board of Education.

However, those who served the students before the pandemic are still doing so.

“The bus drivers, the service personnel, the cooks, they’ve continued serving through volunteering here,” Lytle said.

Over 40 volunteers are needed to provide weekly meals to thousands of children in the county. The have 12 assembly lines and 15 distribution areas.

“It’s been humbling first of all,” Lytle said. “To realize this many kids that are food insecure here in Mon County,” he said. “We’ve known that and we as a school system have tried to take care of that, but as far as the actual hands on experience, it’s amazing,” he said.

The experience brought many locals together.

“It’s interesting to see the world and everybody kind of come together and work for a common goal,” Byers said. “I mean people are coming out of the woodworks to help.”

Helping to keep mouth feds during this pandemic.

Anyone who is looking to help pack or deliver meals to the children and families in the area can sign up on the Feed Mon Kids website. Volunteers have to sign up every week, but families that sign up for the program only have to sign up once.