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A community effort: Volunteers help distribute food for Lynchburg students leading up to holiday break
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A community effort: Volunteers help distribute food for Lynchburg students leading up to holiday break

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With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, members of the Lynchburg community volunteered to help distribute packaged meals and fresh produce to students and their families Friday.

In addition to a hot Thanksgiving lunch of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, baked apples and dinner rolls, students and families also were able to pick up extra meals from the school nutrition program for the weekend.

Lynchburg City Schools will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week. During that break, the division’s curbside meal distribution at the three middle schools and two high schools will not be available.

Volunteers from Food for Thought, a Park View Community Mission food service program, passed out bags of nonperishable meals and snacks to help ensure students had meals going into the holiday break. Food for Thought distributed 200 boxes of fresh produce, donated by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, on Friday at the city’s five secondary schools for families to have for the upcoming holiday.

“We’ve had to think outside the box when it comes to making sure we’re getting healthy food into the hands of those in our community who need it,” said Ashely Steinweg, director of development with Park View Community Mission. “So we appreciate our partnership with the schools and that we’re able to come out and help pass out even more food.”

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Steinweg and Rachel Koester, donor relations manager with Park View Community Mission, helped distribute bags of meals and fresh produce boxes at Linkhorne Middle School on Friday. Steinweg said Food for Thought volunteers also will be at the five secondary schools — E.C. Glass and Heritage high schools, and Linkhorne, Dunbar and Sandusky middle schools — during Monday’s curbside meal pickup time from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with more meals and boxes of produce. Koester said they have 100 more boxes of produce that will be distributed Monday.

Members of the Lynchburg Fire Department were at Linkhorne Middle School helping package and distribute food to families and students Friday. Greg Wormser, fire chief at the Lynchburg Fire Department, said the school division anticipated more families would stop by for meals Friday and Monday before the Thanksgiving break and asked them to help pack and distribute meals.

Wormser and several other members of the Lynchburg Fire Department were stationed at Linkhorne Middle School chatting with students and parents, helping package and pass out meals, and distributing household safety pamphlets and “junior firefighter” badge stickers. Some students even got a tour of a fire truck when they came to pick up their meals.

“We are always in the schools,” Wormser said. “That’s just part of our community engagement efforts to make sure that we’re connecting with the public.”

Lynchburg City School Board member Belle Evans stopped by Linkhorne Middle School — her alma mater — on Friday to help pack and distribute meals and show her support for the division’s school nutrition workers.

“It’s nice to be able to help,” Evans said. “I hate asking people to work so hard and not help when I can.”

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