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C.H.E.W. of Onslow County kicks off new, unusual school year with its first packout

The program provides lunches to students who need them while they’re not in school.
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 7:31 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Children Eating Healthy on Weekends, or C.H.E.W., of Onslow County is kicking off the new school year.

The program, overseen by United Way of Onslow County, provides meals to students while they’re not in school.

“It is so rewarding,” said C.H.E.W. Coordinator Mary Shaw. “The community has just come together. It’s amazing what the community has done.”

This year, with the new and challenging school year, they’ve had to alter their plans. With students only in school for two days a week and online the others, and nearly 5,000 students fully-remote, they’ve had to increase the number of packouts they hold. This year, they’re holding a weekly event, when they’ve typically held one every two weeks.

United Way of Onslow County is getting ready for its big Chew-United Way of Onslow County packout kick-off tonight! Liam Collins WITN is in Jacksonville with a tour of their CHEW house. A live report is coming up on WITN News at 4 and 5.

Posted by WITN-TV on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

“There’s a lot of families to reach. So, this is just one of the ways to help,” said Shaw.

They held their first packout event Wednesday to kick-off the new school year. They packed up rooms filled with food to get them to the families who need it.

“I thought ‘in America today? Oh, please. Let’s not let that happen,’” said Onslow County C.H.E.W. Director Beth Myers.

Myers said she’s retired, but just couldn’t stand by and do nothing as thousands of students went hungry every night.

“They can have adult supervision. Grandma, grandpa, moms, dads, aunt, uncle, older brother, sister,” said Myers. “Whomever that wonderful person is that looks after them. But we like to keep it slightly easy, so that if they are attempting to get something to eat, that it’s something that they can manage. Mostly in a microwave.”

United Way is asking for donations of light-weight and easy-to-make food like smaller cans of soup, boxes of pasta or granola bars. They’re also asking for donations of plastic grocery bags to pack the food.

United Way is located at 403 N Bayshore Blvd, Jacksonville, NC 28540.

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