Local non-profit provides sack dinner for kids, donations needed

Saturday, March 21, 2020
Matthew 25:40, an emergency assistance non-profit, is urging community members to donate food items to help feed school-aged children a sack dinner on weekdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. while they are out of school because of the coronavirus.
State Gazette photo/Truly Martin



While schools are trying to still feed children the best way they can while classes are on hiatus, one area non-profit and volunteers plan to do everything in their power to make sure low-income students stay fed until schools re-open.

Matthew 25:40 will begin to provide a free “Sack Dinner” from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. for school-aged children in need of a meal.

“I wanted to do something a little different to make sure students had something to eat in the evening,” said Melissa Brubaker, Executive Director of Matthew 25:40. “I know there is a need. I know that even on weekends, there are times when children do not have food. Not every family is prepared.”

Meals will be available for students in Pre-K through 12th grades. While this program will make evening meals available, students will also have an opportunity to have breakfast and lunch provided to them daily by the Dyer County and Dyersburg school systems.

Bubaker said every meal would be covered.

“We plan to do this Monday through Friday until they go back to school,” she continued. “Of course, it is going to rely on some community support.”

The emergency assistance non-profit plans to take extra caution when handing out the meals to students because of the current coronavirus pandemic.

“We are trying to stay distanced and be careful,” she said. “We are going to do a drive-thru method outside and have a food trailer. People will not have to get out of their vehicles unless they walk to get the food. We do have a lot of walkers.”

A parent or guardian may pick up the sack meals for all children in the household. There will be no vouchers or paperwork needed to get the dinners.

“It will not be mandatory for the children to get out,” said Brubaker.

The organization is in need of donations, including money and food to distribute. Currently, foods such as hotdogs, canned ravioli with pop lids, snack cakes, chips and gummy worms are being requested at this time. All donations are tax deductible.

“I just thought the gummy worms in there would make it a little more special,” said Brubaker. “I have also reached out to a couple of local businesses to see if they would want to donate pizza or foods someday.”

Dyer County’s annual outreach program, “Mission Blitz,” has canceled their event for this year due to the virus and instead has donated to Matthew 25:40. Brubaker said more than 200 students will be fed because of the donation.

Community members can also volunteer to help out with the sack meals.

“I do want to keep the numbers down because we are not going to gather in groups,” said Brubaker. “Volunteers can come in and fill the bags and help us pass them out.”

Since the 1990s, the organization has served Dyer County’s underprivileged population by providing annual holiday efforts for nearly 200 children, emergency assistance and partnering with other local agencies to provide monthly food boxes through the Feed the Need initiative.

The next Feed the Need program is scheduled for April 23. There will be no food assistance available through the program for March because of COVID-19.

“We did cancel our Feed the Need, which was suppose to be Thursday,” said Brubaker. “I felt like we just had to because we usually have close to 100 volunteers and we are inside a building. We are still available if people need food for as long as it lasts.”

Those wishing to donate foods or volunteer can contact Brubaker, at 731-286-9054 or email matthew2540@cableone.net.

Donations can be dropped of at the location of the event and the headquarters of Matthew 25:40, at 432 West Court Street in Dyersburg.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: