Rock Hill’s Project Hope launches spring break food drive for students

Sullivan Elder, 5, helps sort food for Project Hope. The Rock Hill crisis assistance agency is collecting food for students on spring break.
Sullivan Elder, 5, helps sort food for Project Hope. The Rock Hill crisis assistance agency is collecting food for students on spring break. HERALD FILE PHOTO

Spring break means a week without school breakfasts and lunches for many York County students. It’s a week without food from the Back the Pack food program.

But Sheila Neisler with Project Hope, a Rock Hill-based crisis assistance ministry, said spring break for area students doesn’t have to mean a week of hunger.

Project Hope has partnered with four local businesses for a food drive intended to help feed children during spring break, which is the week of April 4 in Rock Hill schools.

The drive is called “It’s spring break, not food break.”

About 55 percent of children in Rock Hill schools – more than 9,000 students– receive free- and reduced-price lunch, according to the district. “If school is out, where are they going for food?” she said.

That question prompted the agency to organize the drive, Neisler said. Food donation bins will be at four Rock Hill locations. The agency is reaching out through school counselors to families who may need extra food during the school break.

“We figured while people were out shopping for Easter candy, Easter clothes and vacation stuff, buy a little extra food and share it with a child that your kid maybe goes to school with,” she said.

Partners in the Project Hope food collection project are the Rock Hill Galleria, Revolutions Bowling, Family Care Specialty Pharmacy and Dollar General.

Stokes Mayfield, president of the Project Hope board, said students don’t need to go hungry “when we have plenty of food to feed these people who are in need.”

Mayfield said Project Hope also has reached out to local colleges, including York Technical College and Clinton College “to see if they would like us to be their food bank as well.”

Neisler said the agency is trying to strengthen its connection to families who may need extra food by sending out necessary forms to sign up for assistance through school counselors.

She said counselors can send the family’s completed forms back to Project Hope, which can then prepare a week’s worth of food for the family to pick up.

The agency, located at 411 Park Ave, has more than 80 volunteers which distribute about 2.5 tons of food each week. It serves more than 3,500 families each year.

Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077

How to donate

Project Hope, 411 Park Ave., Rock Hill and its four Rock Hill business partners will collect canned and nonperishable foods for families who may need it during spring break at these locations:

▪  Rock Hill Galleria, near the “bunny set,” 2301 Dave Lyle Boulevard.

▪  Revolutions Bowling, 2225 Dave Lyle Boulevard.

▪  Family Care Specialty Pharmacy, 2760 Celanese Road, Suite. 102, near Harris Teeter

▪  Dollar General, 1916 Mount Gallant Road, near Food Lion

Donations of kid-friendly foods are welcome, including peanut butter and jelly, breakfast bars, spaghetti and pasta sauce, canned pasta, Hamburger Helper, macaroni and cheese and canned tuna.

Forinformation: Go to t www.projecthope-rockhill.org or call Sheila Neisler at 704-965-4249.