Mission Hope for Kids in Eliza­beth­town, with community support, is continuing to provide whatever encouragement and hope it can to students and their families during a time of stress and panic for many because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With schools closed, Mission Hope’s after-school program has been suspended. The nonprofit provides the program for more than 150 students. With students unable to gather at Mission Hope for Kids, the staff and volunteers are doing what they can to continue to “serve up hope” to the families.

Every other week, volunteers are sorting, packing and delivering boxes of food and other items to 100 families, which accounts for the 153 children they serve.

Along with food, boxes have had everything from hygiene/household items and Bibles to Easter candy and family devotions.

Mission Hope Executive Director Nelle Thomas said in times of hardship, it’s their privilege to come alongside their students’ families.

“It’s not a big thing we’re doing. It’s just a small box, but it’s full of love and hope for these families,” she said.

Thomas said they are grateful for the outpouring of community support, saying it takes a village in times like these to push forward.

“It takes a village to kind of wrap around these kids especially the students we serve,” she said. “I know it is hard on everyone, but our students face other adversities and hardships in their lives and it just kind of compounds.”

Thomas said they’ve received an abundance of support from individuals, churches, and organizations, such as Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland and Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service, in providing these boxes for their students. She said these people want to help Mission Hope “continue to serve our kiddos and their families.”

Among those volunteering to pack boxes Tuesday morning were Sixfrido and Olga Mendez. Olga said it’s important to feed these children and let them know that people care.

Radcliff Campus Leader Teri Johnson, who also was packing boxes Tuesday, said to her, “the ‘Hope’ in Mission Hope is what those kids need and that is what we bring to them, hope.”

Volunteer and Re­source Development Coordinator Kaitlyn Jackson said they distribute about 80 boxes in Eliza­bethtown and about 10 to 20 in Radcliff. The boxes have been distributed every other week since March 18.

The distribution will continue until further notice. The next distribution date is April 29.

To volunteer, people can sign up at https://bit.ly/2RH966v. To donate, go to https://missionhopeforkids.org/donate/.

If a person would prefer to shop, a list of items to donate can be found on the Mission Hope for Kids Facebook page.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1741 or malford@thenewsenterprise.com.

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