Wilkes County elementary school provides resources, meals for local families


Cole Elledge, Reporter

WILKES COUNTY, N.C. – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, one elementary school grapples with a familiar issue. Daily struggles for necessities persist for several families. 

Meghann Roberts-Clawson, the guidance counselor at Mulberry Elementary School, said she has met with several families and children dealing with food insecurity. She said families already on food programs are hit hardest. 

“I know it’s there,” said Emily Jenkins, a parent of three, including a son who attends Mulberry Elementary School. Jenkins said one of her son’s teachers contacted her and other families to help provide food for the family of one of Jenkins’ son’s classmates.

Roberts-Clawson said that out of the school’s 457 students, 61 families applied for a backpack program provided by Samaritan’s Kitchen. 

“I’m sure more could qualify,” Roberts-Clawson said. 

Ritchie Cornette, Mulberry Elementary principal, said 500 to 600 breakfast and lunch meals are offered daily at the school. 

“It’s not just our kids; it’s any kid from one to 18 we can feed,” Cornette said. 

Roberts-Clawson said all of the meals are free thanks to a federal grant Mulberry Elementary School received. But, some families who qualify for free food haven’t received any because they don’t know where to look. 

The NC 211 directory, which can be accessed online at https://www.nc211.org/ or called via phone at 211 or 888-892-1162, provides information on where food services can be located in one’s county. Information on meal distribution sites is also available at the Wilkes County School System’s website at  https://www.wilkescountyschools.org/.