By Kassie Simmons | February 15, 2021 at 5:01 PM EST – Updated February 15 at 7:40 PM
ROCKY POINT, N.C. (WECT) – The COVID-19 pandemic has made the fight against hunger even tougher as more families face the decision of paying the bills or putting food on the table.
The owner of 360 Painting of Hampstead is using the company’s Kids Lift program to make sure kids have food on the table and school supplies in their backpacks. For him, the effort hits close to home.
“There were a couple times growing up where I was in that same position,” said owner Mike Jolly. “Not often, but I had a single mom who was working full-time so I remember those times where I was looking forward to breakfast at school because I hadn’t eaten since maybe breakfast on Sunday.”
Whether it be due to business being slow or an unexpected job loss, sometimes families at Rocky Point Elementary just can’t put food on the table.
“[One] dad, thankfully, has talked to me enough that he was able to call and just say ‘hey, I just lost my job. I know you’ve mentioned the groceries before. Can you send some of those home?’ Absolutely,” said school counselor Amanda Harrell.
More than a dozen kids in the school take home bags of food every Friday. Without those meals, kids either go hungry or their teachers may help.
“If they weren’t here, [it would be] just more that the teachers would have to supply out of pocket,” said Harrell. “When a child doesn’t come with a snack, the teachers are buying it and that’s out of their purse.”
That’s where Jolly and others have stepped in.
“My wife and I have a 7-month-old daughter,” said Jolly. “Just imagining her not having food over the weekend is really upsetting.”
After just over a year of business, Jolly kicked off his location’s first virtual food drive last month through its Kid Lift program.
“You go and you pick your items, select the school that it’s going to, and you just buy them and they get shipped here.”
Several businesses and individuals have already sent donations straight to Rocky Point Elementary, including oatmeal, green beans, macaroni and even pudding packs. All the items are shipped through Amazon from the school’s Wish List.
“Before I [check out] I want to make sure that it’s going to Rocky Point Elementary School. There are a couple different schools in the nation this account is tied to. Then, we’ll just go look at our cart and proceed to checkout and it’s as easy as that.”
The virtual food drive started last month and is scheduled to continue through March. Kid Lift does food and school supply drives regularly at all 360 Painting locations across the country.
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