Just hours after the winds of Hurricane Matthew quit blowing and days before its flood waters immobilized much of Lenoir County, Mike Fields and relative Kenyari Fields set up a free feeding station at Herritage Court in Kinston.
“We started with $60 and some hot dogs,” Mike said Wednesday, the ninth day of a charitable operation that, through donations, had by then grown beyond a source for food into a touchpoint for people whose lives had been disrupted by the flood. They were still serving food — hot dogs and hamburgers, grilled chicken, corn, string beans, cake, water — but they also offered clothing and furniture at their temporary location at Freeman gym at Teachers Memorial School and Training Center. They had even helped displaced families locate housing.
They call the operation A Community Feeding A Community, but are energized by the fact that people are coming together to do much more than put food in mouths. “We’re really feeding their hope, their restoration, that new start,” said Kenyari Fields, a second-grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School.
He is among a large group of LCPS employees who have volunteered in that operation and others around the county, from helping staff the Red Cross shelter set up at Kinston High School, to feeding first responders and serving at a disaster relief hospital in Southwood, to collecting supplies for families in need at their own schools.
In addition to LCPS staffers and others volunteering for A Community Feeding A Community, a number of businesses — Massey Motors, Sanderson Farms, Chick-fil-A and Piggly-Wiggly, among them — have pitched in to help through donations.
“We are really hoping to make this a long-term project,” said volunteer Jeanene McBride, coordinator of LCPS’s GEAR UP! program. “We would love to see it expand beyond the people affected by the hurricane because we do see a tremendous need in our community.”
Photos of the group’s operation Wednesday at Teachers Memorial is on the district Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lcpsnc.