Hundreds fed in the Tiger den during outage

By BRYAN DAVIS PUBLISHER,

Classes were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday at Thomas E. Edwards Senior High, but the doors to the Ruleville school were wide open for families who needed food after strong storms knocked out the power to most of the northern part of the county last weekend.

While schoolwork can be made up at a later date, Thomas E. Edwards Assistant Principal Tina Steele knew that many kids were missing out on at least four meals because of the power outage.

“For some children, school meals are essential for their health, and many struggling families depend on these meals to help their food budget stretch,” Steele said.

A line of severe storms ripped through the area before daylight on Saturday morning, bringing sustained winds of at least 60 miles per hour, which led to dozens of power poles being snapped or pulled to the ground.

Most were without power for several days from the town of Sunflower up to the northern most part of the county, which includes Ruleville, Drew and Rome.

“Unfortunately, these are the same small towns that struggle with food insecurity,” Steele said. “Food insecurity is defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.”

By Monday morning, Steele said she and Sunflower Mayor Desiree Norwood began talking on Facebook about ways they could help those in need.

Their efforts soon paid off, as people from all over the country donated money to help purchase hotdogs, hamburgers, sandwiches and drinks for over 450 children and community members in Ruleville and Drew.

Volunteers set up grills and tables and made sure that the children of the community had two prepared meals.

“The social media response was overwhelming and prompted others to get involved, some by donating goods and others by reaching out to organizations and helping with other essentials for families,” Steele said.

On Tuesday, Steele and others volunteered again, serving over 400 lunches in the Thomas E. Edwards gym.

Steele said she would like to thank all of those who sponsored and participated in providing food for over 800 people.

She especially wants to thank Thomas E. Edwards Principal Errick Lakes, Tiger parent Tina Parker, Mayor Norwood, the GG Booster Club, Tiger staff members, Jonathan Caldwell and Emily Meredith.

The business sponsors were Domino’s of Cleveland, Flowers and Things of Cleveland and others that requested to remain anonymous.

“Small individual efforts by a large group of people made a great impact,” Steele said. “The most important thing is that our children know they are loved and supported by people around the Delta and throughout the country.”

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