Since the crisis hit, we have been delivering 520 meals every day, Monday through Friday. We had been contacted by Community in Schools, the organization that delivers meals to displaced and homeless families and asked if we could assist them. When the “stay at home” order hit, their volunteers were no longer able to be on location. So law enforcement took over completely and we have been making all the deliveries since March 19th.
We take the food to displaced or homeless families who are living in hotels. These are the kids who would normally get meals at school. Each child receives either a hot meal or sandwich for lunch, plus a frozen breakfast for the next morning. Then on weekends we also take weekend bags to help them make it through until the next week. On the Thursday before Easter, we delivered 1,040 meals.
Charlotte-Mecklenberg school cafeteria workers prepare the meals and then pack and bag ones for us to deliver. A nonprofit called Second Harvest provides the weekend bags, canned goods and non-perishable items. We need more donations to the food banks right now, especially financial donations and non-perishable items. All of them are running low and are now having to buy directly from manufacturers. The need for food is higher than ever.
The thing that has impacted us the most is going out and seeing how many people have been underserved in our community. You just don’t know the whole story and what led them to be there. Most of them are hardworking, good people who live paycheck to paycheck and desperately want to provide for their families. We also want people to know that the Sheriff’s Office is here for them and we want to help. A lot of people see law enforcement on TV and get a negative perception of who we are. What can be easy to forget is that every employee that works for our agency has a family and kids too. We are moms and dads and sons and daughters and ordinary people just like them and more alike than different. We have a lot of colleagues who you don’t see out in the neighborhoods, like the guards working in the detention center. Those employees are inside day and night and away from their families.
While we want people to shelter safely at home, we don’t have that luxury. We have to be out in the midst of everything that is going on. And we want to be. We do it because we care.
If you would like to help the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office work delivering meals, visit Second Harvest to learn about donation options.
Thank you, Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte NC for being good neighbors!
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