LORAIN, Ohio — On a Tuesday morning, when Amy Jackson should be surrounded by 5 and 6-year-olds, we find her alone, gathering materials from her quiet classroom. As Ohio schools remain closed, teachers must extend their lesson plans, as at-home learning stretches on.
The day before, was anything but quiet. Mondays are food distribution days at Vincent Elementary, which is part of the Clearview School District.
“We handed out 700 meals between Vincent and the high school to families. And we have about 1800 families in our district. And we ran out of food,” Jackson said.
Food pantries are also filing the demand, but as Jackson learned, their supplies are depleted too.
“They are not giving milk, cheese, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables. They said they will only give them peanut butter, beans, rice and canned foods,” she explained.
After 3News' first story on Jackson and the school district aired, community heroes stepped in, donating money in all amounts, from small to large.
“A lady contacted me and said, ‘I would like to donate $1,000 to feeding your children.’ I said, ‘I cannot accept this.’ I’m crying. She goes, ‘Yes, you can. You take this money and you feed these children.’”
So the Clearview contingent hit the local Aldi’s on April 5th, buying enough fruits, veggies, meat and dairy products for 25 families. A store manager noticed the group’s loaded carts and inquired. After hearing about the needed, the manager donated too.
“We are still out there, fighting for our families. Strong. Yup! Feeding these babies. We are in this together. You take care of each other. You help each other,” Jackson said. Families were notified ahead of time, and met the staff to pick up the food, with their gratitude overflowing.
At the next food distribution, Jackson was once again so happy to see the faces of Clearview children, but instead of just checking in on her students, she made a point to check in on moms, dads and grandparents too.
“How are you doing, Mom? Are you taking care of yourself,” she asked as the drivers rolled down their windows.
For the first time since we met her, Amy Jackson broke down for a moment. She feels the weight of what adults are going through. “That breaks my heart. Still today. Several of them broke down and cried and said, ‘It’s so hard.’ It’s just as hard on them as it is on the children,” she confessed.
We took the opportunity to ask Jackson, the same question she is asking parents. Her guard dropped and the tears came, if for a moment. “Yeah, it’s hard. It is hard. Some days we have great days and some days we have tough days,” she said.
It’s evident that the lows come, but for Jackson, they are fleeting. The Clearview family may be physically apart for now, but they are united and grateful for the love showered upon their community.
Families have written thank you notes to the donors. Jackson holds them up proudly, ready to put them in the mail.
“You take care of each other. You help each other. We are in this together.”
The Clearview staff plan to make another food run to Aldi’s this weekend. For those wondering about donations, Vincent Elementary School Principal Lynne Stark is fielding inquiries.
She can be reached at:
2303 North Ridge Road East
Lorain, Ohio 44055