DALEVILLE — Despite the early morning fog, patrons of Daleville Community Schools lined up around the elementary school to receive food for the week.

The Daleville schools on Wednesday provided 6,100 meals for families residing in the school system. That could continue until the COVID-19 crisis ends.

“I think the school is doing a really, really good thing,” Courtney Caldwell said. “There are a lot of people, like my husband, who is out of work and short on cash. Getting food is hard. It helps a lot with the kids being home.”

Caldwell said she has two children at home and she has been working from home for the past week.

“We’re completely getting some cabin fever,” she said, laughing. “The older one is doing e-learning and the younger one is excited to stay home from day care.”

Another mom, Sarah Alexander, has four children at home and is caring for several others.

“The kids are getting adjusted to it fairly well,” she said. “They are getting antsy with being stuck in the house.”

Being a stay-at-home mom has been helpful with the children having to stay home, she said.

Her husband is still working for Miller Pipeline.

“I think it’s great,” Alexander said of the schools providing meals. “I absolutely love it, because I know some families are having financial issues. To be able to get foods for the kids is fabulous.”

Rachel Ellis said her two children, ages 9 and 16, are doing e-learning and starting to get some cabin fever.

Ellis works two days from home for the Salvation Army.

“It’s an amazing thing. We have some awesome people at the school,” she said. “They’re pulling together to help the community.”

Sarah Rector has three children of her own and is watching her sister’s children.

“This is very important,” she said. “I work at a fast food restaurant and I’m laid off.

“The kids are very bored,” Rector said. “We have lots of crafts in the house to keep their mind running.”

Kim Ruark was picking up meals for three families.

“They’re all friends and Daleville families,” she said. “I made the one trip. This is especially important. For the families I’m picking up for, it’s essential.

“We have taken meals to these families at different times,” Ruark said. “I can’t say enough. This is a huge blessing for the Daleville community.”

April Reed, food service director for Daleville Community Schools, said this was the second week for the food distribution.

“We do the summer food program and so we’re just doing this to help our families,” she said.

Reed said the school is purchasing all the food and will get reimbursed for some of the meals.

Getting emotional, Reed said the staff is doing the work by giving up their time and taking the risk.

“We’re planning on this every week until this is over,” she said. “It’s stressful, but I feel blessed to be able to feed all these people.”

Reed said the families email the numbers to the school so they know how many meals to prepare. It’s a weeklong job.

“We hope someone will donate treats for the kids,” she said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide

on Twitter @KendelaBastide,

or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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