AKRON, Ohio — Nearly 300 students at Mason Elementary School in Akron will be assured meals and snacks over spring break thanks to members of three local churches who delivered bags of food to every child in grades K-6.
The bags were passed out Wednesday afternoon outside of the school on East Exchange Street.
Theresa Dunkler, who belongs to The Chapel in Wadsworth, came up with the idea.
Dunkler said she was recently walking in the neighborhood around Mason and recognized many families were in need.
"God told me to feed the children. He brought me right here to this school," Dunkler said.
Members of Dunkler's church, as well as people from Central Community Church in Akron and Northside Christian Church, paid for the food.
"I have never believed in the beauty that I see right now. I feel so beautiful, so beautiful. Look at this," Dunkler said as the bags were distributed.
Mina Riazi, a speech pathologist who also runs community outreach programs for the school, said the donation is much appreciated and needed, even though all Akron Public School students are given free breakfast and lunch daily.
"We're looking at kids that if they don't get fed breakfast and lunch every day at school, they could very possibly miss 10 meals a week," Riazi said.
She estimated about 90% of Mason students live at or near the poverty line. Also, 37% of the kids are considered homeless. Some of the students are either doubling up with other relatives, staying at hotels or living at shelters.
"They do not have a home to call their own," she said.
Riazi said First Congregation Church of Akron also delivers 50 bags of food each week during the school year.
"It means that the community is aware that we have students here who are great kids who need a little extra help."