SC Army National Guard, nonprofit help hand out student meals in Horry County

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County School district’s lunch program launched after a two-week suspension on Monday.

The suspension came after several HCS employees tested positive for COVID-19.

During the break, the South Carolina Department of Education sought the help of a national nonprofit organization, as Horry County is the largest county in the state.

Operation BBQ Relief (OBR) is a Missouri based disaster relief group, helping feed thousands of people in seven states across the country.

“We’re never going to aim for the bottom mark of anything, right? We’re always going to over perform and being asked to do,” said Jaridd Collins, OBR Chief of Programs.

OBR volunteers are working in local restaurant kitchens, preparing meals for Horry County students. The state then brought in the SC Army National Guard for the manpower to distribute meals at the 13 school sites and deliver on bus routes.

“We are still using the resources of the school district, but we’re able to drive around and deliver those meals to the people in need,” said Captain Jessica Donnelly of the SC Army National Guard.

The state says the district will serve as a “test” should other districts in the state be effected by positive testing.

“What we’re doing here is part of a test case to see how well we can work this out in the event that this does happen in other areas and how the state can come in and help fill that gap,” said Ryan Brown, Chief Communications Officer, SC Dept. of Education.

The nonprofit and National Guard will help the district for the next two weeks.

The state says, in the meantime, the district will work to come up with a plan to operate independently.

A list of all 13 meal sites and bus routes are linked, along with available dates and times.

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