Bringing out the best: 1st CCBOE food distribution day ‘huge success’

Outside the Holly Pond lunchroom, school staffers hand out bags of breakfast and lunch items. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. – Across Cullman County Wednesday, Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) Child Nutrition Program (CNP) staff, school staffers and teachers, central office staff and additional volunteers prepared and passed out bags of breakfast and lunch items in the system’s first (sort of; more on that later) COVID-19 outbreak food distribution. 

CCBOE central office staff at West Point reported handing out 591 bags containing four meals each, for a total of 2,364 meals at that location alone. Turnout by families was reportedly high in all locations, with a total of distributed meals at all seven locations approaching 6,500 meals.

The Tribune dropped by Holly Pond’s lunchroom where local CNP coordinator Sherrilline Deese reported approximately 170 bags, or 680 meals, distributed. 

Deese said, “We just jumped right in about 7:15 and got it all ready, and we were ready when the first cars came through. The ladies have been wonderful: the lunchroom staff, all of them that I have, showed up and helped us out, and we got it all done.”

One food distribution already done

CCBOE Learning Support Specialist Karen Pinion shared that the system had already made one lower-key distribution earlier in the week.

Said Pinion, “We started giving out food; food started going out with our kids, in bags, on Monday from various locations and organizations that had donated either monetary funds or bought food and brought it to our central office, to our social workers on Sunday. But from Cullman County Schools, we had right about 590 bags of food sent home with kids, that left school with them on Monday afternoon. And those were all purchased through the churches here in the community.”

Superintendent Shane Barnette declares success

CCBOE Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette told The Tribune, “Today was a huge success! We had so many families coming through, picking up food from all seven different locations. They were very nice, they were very grateful. Many of them had not planned to have their kids out of school right now, so they needed this extra food.

“And then, some of the locations, we knew that there was a couple of communities that couldn’t get up there to get it, so we took it out to those communities and gave it to them. Just a great day: a great day for the families to get food, but a great day for us to get to serve the families of Cullman County.

“Today was a really good day. We had a lot of volunteers from different places to come out, on top of our employees and our lunchroom ladies. Made me feel good to be a part of Cullman County, really did.” 

CCBOE food distributions will continue this Friday and Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week, from 10 a.m. until noon at the high school lunchrooms at Fairview, Good Hope, Hanceville, Holly Pond, Vinemont and West Point, and Harmony School. 

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The Holly Pond lunchroom was fully staffed for the first day of CCBOE food distribution Wednesday. Left to right are Debbie Howard, Barbara Pinkard, Amy Collins, Christy Collier, Corrine Whisenant and Sherrilline Deese. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

W.C. Mann