School District Five community, students and staff 'roll up their sleeves' for residents in need as storm approaches SC
While schools and offices in Lexington-Richland School District Five closed this week under order of the governor; students, staff and organizations rolled up their sleeves to help residents in need in preparation for the potential impacts of Hurricane Florence.
At Irmo High School Friday, Sept. 14, volunteers unloaded more than 130 snack packs provided by the Optimist Club of St. Andrews Irmo and McGregor Presbyterian Church. The school was the site of the district's two-day food service program, offering breakfast and lunch to students needing this service.
"This is what community is all about," said Optimist Club member Stuart Stout. "There are students in the community that rely on schools for breakfast and lunch each day. The snack packs are a small way that we can make sure these students are taken care over the weekend as we prepare for the storm."
School District Five student nutrition staff served a few hundred breakfast and lunch meals Thursday, Sept. 13 and Friday, Sept. 14 at Irmo High School. Among those volunteering at the site were students, teachers and staff from around the district.
"It was a true team effort," said Student Nutrition Director Todd Bedenbaugh. "We had principals, district staff, teachers, students and our superintendent all stopping by to help in any way they could...whether with words of encouragement or with preparations. We were able to serve more than 150 the first day and more of the same on day two. It's amazing to see the support and dedication that exists in our community."
Student organizations district-wide also found ways to help others. Several students with Chapin High School's Academic Leadership Academy, student government, and Justin Pepper Foundation worked at a local assisted living facility, welcoming elderly evacuees and helping to set up temporary beds and other accommodations. Student government sponsor Billie Williams said she was proud to see her students "step up and serve."
"They were so eager to help...but this is the selflessness we see in our students all the time," said Williams, who teaches at Chapin High. "It's not uncommon to see students throughout the district volunteering outside of school and finding ways to uplift the community. We have great kids. They make we proud to live and work in this community."
School District Five Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton talked with families at the district's food site both days, encouraging them and staff as the storm approached.
"While we are bracing for the storm today, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on service and the willingness to serve that exists in our district," Melton said. "I have #PrideIn5 because in times like these we see the greatness of our community shine brightest. What you saw from our community is what makes School District Five great... if there is a need, our community members will roll up their sleeves. We hope our students and families will stay safe as the storm passes, and we are looking forward to welcoming students back when weather and conditions permit."