Chelsea Freeman is the Educational Service Center of Lorain County (ESC) social worker contracted with the North Ridgeville school district. She is Second Harvest’s primary contact for the entire ESC project. She is one of nine social workers working with Second Harvest to bring food to children and families within these nine school districts. She shared some insights into the benefit of their program and partnership with Second Harvest.
“There are now so many more people we see who need help. When a student says they only eat at school, we know we must act. With COVID and possibly no school or limited school, what happens? Because of our role and the support of administration, our group of social workers is empowered to advocate for and try to meet the basic needs of our students. With our great rapport with Second Harvest and Sam (Flores, from Second Harvest), we can get some help to these families. As one example, I have a high school student that had parents that weren’t in the picture, homeless, and lived in a motel. I built a relationship with him and he invited me to visit at the motel. He told me the only hot meals he had were McGriddles and McNuggets. I went home that night and premade him food, bought him a hot plate, and other food items. I let him know I was on my way back to bring him some food. He helped me unload the car and expressed his appreciation, but felt I really shouldn’t have to do all of this for him. As I was driving home, I was thinking about how for him this was enough but I just felt like that was still not enough. That there was so much more I needed to do. And how many more kids just like him are out there?
Our team is hopeful and motivated about the future because there is a greater recognition now of the need and our services, what we can do. Shedding light on all of this will hopefully inspire more people to get involved. Maybe with this momentum, kids and families who were once afraid to voice their need for help will come forward.”
Through our partnership with the Educational Service Center of Lorain County and the social workers serving in the nine school districts, about 130 families are receiving food and groceries each month.
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