Hunger Busters making a difference in Lamar
Gay Jeffords and Sue Ingram can’t stand the idea of children in their community being hungry. These two friends and co-workers in the Darlington County School District decided to do something about hungry children in Lamar. They teamed up with Andrea Pulling of Carolina Kids and Garry Flowers, principal of Lamar Elementary, to expand the Hunger Buster food program into the Lamar community. This spring, with the support of community members, local churches, and Harvest Hope Food Bank, they were able to begin sending home bags of food each Friday with more than fifty children of Lamar Elementary. School ended but the program did not.
Every Thursday they load their vehicles with bags of food and set off throughout Lamar, visiting families, dropping off food, and giving hugs and high fives to the people they visit. “We don’t have to focus on making a difference around the world or in another state,” said Jeffords. “If the people could ride with us each week, they would realize things right here in Lamar need to be taken care of. We need to watch out for each other.”
Both women say the effort has not been possible without the support of the community members, Carolina Kids, the churches, the school district, and Harvest Hope Food Bank. “No one has said ‘no’,” said Jeffords. “Lamar Baptist Church has adopted this as their local ministry and has supported us fully. Andrea Pulling of Carolina Kids showed us how the program works and the bags are packed. We have been very fortunate and we are happy to do this.” Their efforts also inspired her grandchildren to get involved.
About three weeks ago, Jeffords’ granddaughter asked to use her house for a lemonade stand. “I asked her what she was raising money for and she told me, ‘We’re going to help you. We’re going to give it to the children you pack for,’” said Jeffords. The children raised more than $100 for the program. “I took them to the store and let them pick out the food,” said Jeffords. “Then they came back with me and packed the bags. And they did it all themselves.”
Always looking for ways to serve their children, Jeffords and Ingram are actively working to expand the Carolina Kids program into Lamar, an action that will hopefully include a “read and feed afterschool program” and a clothing closet for the students of Lamar. “I would encourage other people to do it and other schools,” said Ingram. “Don’t be afraid to get out there and get involved in the community. These children need us. It takes a whole village to raise a child and that’s what we’re doing every day.”