MASON COUNTY — The staff at Mason County’s three public libraries are working to make sure no student goes hungry while teachers and other school personnel are on strike.
Children were provided sack lunches on Tuesday, the first day of the strike, and the lunches will continue each weekday until school resumes should the strike continue, according to Pam Thompson, county library director.
Thompson said several churches, businesses, and individuals have already stepped up in the Bend Area, offering food, paper products, and monetary donations. She stated that, should the strike continue, Rio Bravo Mexican Restaurant in Mason will be providing meals at the New Haven Library on Thursday, and the Mason Library on Friday. Faith Baptist Church, St. Paul Lutheran Church, the Good News Club, and individuals have also donated or volunteered to prepare meals.
While the Mason and New Haven libraries are located in residential areas with children having easy access to meals, the main library in Point Pleasant is located more in the downtown area. This causes a bit of a problem for some students to get to that location, according to Cindy Williams, library clerk there.
Williams said in Point Pleasant, sack lunches will be provided to make it easier for parents to bring their children by for a “grab and go” lunch. She said many individuals have already volunteered to come in and help, and several have given cash donations to go toward the food.
Thompson said the libraries’ efforts are all to make sure the children are fed, and that teachers don’t have to worry about the students’ nutrition.
“The lunch times will also provide socialization for the children, and we will have worksheets, games, and activities,” she added.
Shayla Blackshire, teacher at New Haven Elementary, said a few of the teachers there will go to the Mason and New Haven libraries at lunch time to interact with the kids and help them in any way possible.
Lunches will be provided at the Point Pleasant and New Haven libraries Monday through Friday. Due to some health issues among library staff, lunches at Mason will be Tuesday through Friday.
Thompson said during the strike, Tot Time, as well as Story Hour will continue as scheduled.
Anyone wanting to donate food items, paper products or money can take them to their nearest library, according to Thompson. Those wishing to provide entire meals for a day at the Mason or New Haven locations can contact the libraries at 304-675-0894 for Point Pleasant, 304-882-3252 for New Haven, and 304-773-5580 for Mason.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.