Working families, battered by pandemic, get donated food ahead of holidays

Community Over Crisis

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Many students at Meadowlark Elementary rely upon free and reduced lunch — and, coupled with a holiday stretch of no school and a historic pandemic, volunteers spent Wednesday morning trying to help.

“Our community is really struggling with COVID. If a family becomes sick, or a working member becomes sick, or a family member becomes sick, the entire family has to stay in the house,” said Maggie Cummings, principal at Meadowlark Elementary.

“They cannot earn money. I don’t know if people really understand how hard it is if you are an hourly employee to stay economically afloat right now,” added Cummings.

On Wednesday, USANA executives stood outside Meadowlark in the cold to deliver food to families. It’s an annual tradition — students won’t be coming to school for their free and reduced meals during break — more important this year than ever before.

“100 percent of the families at this school live below the poverty line,” said Michelle Benedict with USANA Kids Eat. 

According to Benedict, each bag contains 40 meals — shelf-stable pantry goods meant to get families through the holiday break.

“We feel like our bags are fuel. They’re just support and fuel to keep going and pushing forward,” added Benedict.

In addition to the 400 bags delivered today, USANA says they’ll give away 3600 bags to various schools by week’s end.

“Right now is a super hard time for people. This community right now has a positivity rate of 24 percent, but for the last month it was in the 30s. And they’ve been hit really hard by the virus,” said Cummings.

“We’re trying to help them as much as we can,” added Cummings.

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