Local restaurants donate to Snack Packs for kids in wake of flu epidemic

Photo Cutline: Chef Caleb Arwood and Clay Elkins meet Donna Sams-Council, coordinator of Snack Packs for Kids of WSSE, at Road Hog’s Barbeque to make donation of $967.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WOAY) – When on February 4th, it was announced Greenbrier County Schools would close for the remainder of the week due to widespread illness, community members were concerned.  Many area children rely on the meals they receive at school and through school-based programs that send food home in backpacks. In response, individuals had organized within hours. Bagged lunches were being prepared and made available for pick up at St. James Episcopal Church in Lewisburg.

This quick action inspired local restaurant owners David Bostic and Clay Elkins to pitch in as well. In cooperation with Chef Todd Wager at The Local Café & Grocer and Chef Caleb Arwood at Road Hog’s Barbeque, both restaurants announced that children were invited to eat for free from the restaurants’ kids menus for the duration of the school closure.

On Tuesday evening, the offer was shared on the social media pages of both restaurants. By the next day, the posts had been shared more than 1,000 times and had been seen by more than 65,000 people, almost double the entire county’s population.

Over the next three days, the restaurants served 250 children. Generous community members also stopped in to make donations to offset the costs. By the end of the closure, The Local Café and Grocer and Road Hog’s Barbeque had taken in $967 in donations, the majority coming from White Sulphur Springs residents.

Once again, David and Clay conferred and made the decision to pass the total amount of the donations on to the Snacks in Packs program. They contacted Lara Edwards, the coordinator of Snacks in Packs of Greenbrier County. Together, the decision was made to donate the entirety of the proceeds to Snack Packs for Kids, the organization’s affiliate at White Sulphur Springs Elementary. Donna Sams-Council, the coordinator of Snack Packs for Kids, was notified of the donation.

“It was just amazing to be the recipient of their endeavor,” Sams-Council said. “We operate totally on donations,” she added.

Even before Sams-Council knew the funds would be passed on to Snack Packs for Kids, she had made her own contribution of $50 to the restaurant’s efforts.

“This community is pretty special,” David Bostic said. “They support us and have each other’s backs in a way that is practically unheard of these days. Making this donation, on behalf of this community, to the kids at White Sulphur Springs Elementary is our pleasure and joy.”

About Snacks In Packs of Greenbrier County

Snacks In Packs (SIP) is designed to help children who do not have enough food over the weekends when they are away from school and, thus, school meals. A bag of filling, pre-packaged, ready to eat snacks is sent home with each enrolled child. These foods are selected not only because they are filling, but also because they do not require any adult assistance to prepare. Meals included are items like nuts, fruit cups (including a spoon), breakfast bars, cheese or peanut butter crackers, granola bars, and so forth.

Snacks In Packs are currently being served in 8 of the 9 elementary schools in Greenbrier County. Over 700 children are being served each week. Meals In Packs relies upon donations to purchase food for enrolled children. All donations of any amount are appreciated. One can sponsor a child for an entire school year with a $50 donation. Donations are tax-deductible.

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com