COVID-19 forces early start of summer feeding program

Community

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — For the past four summers, Run 5 Feed 5 has fed about 300 students in Randolph County. When COVID-19 shut down schools in March, Kim Reddick knew her nonprofit was needed now.

“When the pandemic hit, folks that normally wouldn’t struggle are struggling because they are losing their jobs or they are short time,” said Reddick, the director of Run 5 Feed 5.

The group normally holds a 5K run or walk to fund the summer feeding program. This year is different. When schools closed in mid-March, Run 5 Feed 5 worked with school counselors and area food banks to get names of students that were food insecure. Volunteers then packed kid-friendly food like pasta, Pop-Tarts and cereal into boxes that were then delivered to students.  

“We find in a lot of situations where the kids are living with grandparents and they don’t know what there is to support them,” Reddick said. “Our desire is to meet the needs of the children who are not being served in other ways.”

Food deliveries around Randolph County and even Guilford and Davidson counties were every week. Run 5 Feed 5 had to change its schedule because basic kids’ food was becoming tough to find.

“We are feeding 617 children now bi-weekly because we couldn’t get enough food fast enough to pack the boxes for the following week,” Reddick said.

Run 5 feed 5 is placing donation drop-off boxes across the community and getting donations from churches like Vintage Church in Randleman. But Reddick added that’s not even enough to meet the increasing demand.

“It’s the magnitude. 617 children equates to 1,000 cans of pasta and 2,000 ramen noodles, which you can’t find anywhere,” Reddick said.

When they are not packing boxes, volunteers spend a lot of energy searching for new stores where they can buy food. Kevin Reddick is a volunteer. He said the group gets the strength to continue the ministry when they see the families they help.

“To see the reaction of the children,” Kevin Reddick said. “I promise you a good kind of pride will roll up from the pit of your stomach and give you cold chills down your back, spine and arms.”

Run 5 feed 5 is planning their next delivery. To volunteer to drive a delivery route or to make a donation, you can send an email to run5feed5@gmail.org.

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