As North Carolina public schools remain closed, Rocky Mount Prep and Greater Joy Church teamed up to provide meals to local residents in collaboration with Marketing With a Twist and The Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina.

Understanding that many families rely on meals at school for food security, the two organizations came together to ensure that local families were able to access food via a community food distribution on April 18 at the school.

“As a regional school, we wanted to do our part to support our community and help our scholars and all scholars be well,” Rocky Mount Prep Head of School Chaunte Garrett said.

The school often helps others through food distribution, but this effort looked a little different in the wake of COVID-19. That did not stop Rocky Mount Prep teachers, board members, students and families from giving back to their community.

“This was my second time helping out, however this time was way different than my first one. It was a great experience seeing how the community can come together and help out families in need,” Rocky Mount Prep student Kaheim Vaughan said.

Due to the pandemic, the number of volunteers was strictly limited in order to abide with social distancing regulations. The volunteers who participated said they were blessed by the opportunity to serve.

“Seeing the families come out in the rain showed me how many families are really in need of food,” Rocky Mount Prep parent and school volunteer Tisha Vaughan said. “I’m glad to be part of the food bank again. Having my son there to see and help was a great experience for him to see how not to take life for granted.”

Volunteers unloaded the truck, sorted items, packed boxes full of food and delivered them to vehicles that lined the facility. Together, 16,000 pounds of food was distributed to 505 families.

School and church leaders said they are appreciative of all who came out to support their efforts, including Mayor Sandy Roberson.

“It was a pleasure for Greater Joy to partner and participate in the food distribution for our communities,” Bishop Shelton Daniel of Greater Joy Church said. “It is my experience that we as a community strengthen nutrition through the distribution of food to fight issues of need to families, emergency feeding programs and the elderly in the area. We look forward to future efforts.”