HOPE program in Chester Co. makes sure students have weekend meals

CHESTER COUNTY, Tenn. — One organization is helping to bring hope to students this holiday season.

“HOPE actually stands for ‘Helping Other People Eat,'” said Heather Griffin with Coordinated School Health in Chester County.


And that’s what Coordinated School Health is doing through the HOPE Program.

Back in 2009, Griffin was packing bags for middle school and junior high students to have meals over the weekend.

“Well, come to find out, Hope Shull was doing the same thing for some elementary schools,” Griffin said.

So, they combined their resources and started the HOPE program.

“Now we serve an average of 100 students. This month I think it was 111,” Griffin said.

They had a packing party Thursday and filled the bags for the next two weeks.

The HOPE program sends food home with students every Friday, but with the Christmas holiday coming up, they want to make sure these students don’t miss a meal.

The group packed up those containers, put them in the back of their trucks and drove them all over Chester County to make sure all 111 students had something to eat this weekend.

School officials says these bags help show the students that people care about them.

“We hope they realize that they’re loved, not just by the principals but by the teachers, by the community, by all those that work together to pack these bags that they never meet,” Chester County Middle School Principal Tommie Kirk said.

And those delivering the food say it’s not just the students who see the benefits.

“We see the benefit from those who hand out the bags,” Griffin said. “We see benefits in those students behind us who help us deliver. There’s just something about giving that makes you feel good.”

The HOPE Program is sponsored by donations, the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Race for Hope fundraiser in honor of Hope Shull.

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