Colleton County School District has been delivering 8,000 breakfasts and lunches to children in every community in Colleton since the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine.
At the recent May 22 virtual school board meeting, there seemed to be some confusion and concerns that children in the Smoaks and Ruffin areas of the county were not having breakfasts and lunches delivered.
Board member William Bowman questioned why some children in the district were not being served and spoke at great length on the subject. Unfortunately, since the meetings are virtual, Food Service Director Ellen Fitch was not there to answer questions and verify that this was not the case.
In order to remedy the situation, Board Chair Patricia Simmons spoke several times, pleading with parents to contact the district office if there were issues with children being underserved in rural areas. She not only gave phone numbers to call, she also asked for residents to go on Facebook and leave messages there.
A resident began to canvas parents in these areas, asking if their children were receiving food and inquiring if the district had been negligent.
Sen. Justin Bamberg contacted the school district office. After receiving a copy of a list of parents from Bamberg's office, Fitch phoned the parents on the list. "They were informed that the route stops were not at their address but at a neutral location close to their address, so they were satisfied with where they needed to go and our conversation was pleasant," she said.
She said was satisfied that no child was being left out and that she could quash any doubt that the district was doing its best.
“For me, everything is about the children. It’s not about making a name for myself or the district trying to make an impression. We have no hidden agendas or vendettas against anyone or group. We don’t ostracize any community or child. This food distribution plan is for the children and making sure that none of them go hungry while school is out,” said Fitch. “And isn’t that the most important thing?”