Mom organizes free lunches for more than 200 kids when schools close amid freezing temperatures

PHOTO: Amy Price Mendez and her family delivered over 100 lunches to children in need throughout Lorain County, Ohio, Jan. 3, 2018.Chronicle Telegram/Kristin Bauer
Amy Price Mendez and her family delivered over 100 lunches to children in need throughout Lorain County, Ohio, Jan. 3, 2018.

Amy Price was not planning to feed more than 100 kids when she woke up on Wednesday morning.

The mother of three from Lorain County, Ohio, was thinking of her eighth-grade son who would be spending the day at home due to schools closing for cold temperatures when she had an idea.

“I was happy for my son to have the day off and the kids who didn’t have to walk in the freezing cold, but then I started thinking about the kids who may not eat,” Price, 41, an attorney and real estate agent, told ABC News. “I remember being a child services prosecutor and caseworkers mentioning sometimes that kids may not eat on snow days when they’re home from school.”

PHOTO: Amy Price, center, poses with family members who helped her deliver lunches to kids.Courtesy Amy Price
Amy Price, center, poses with family members who helped her deliver lunches to kids.

Price took to Facebook and posted a short message, which she shared on her own page and local community pages.

“If you live in the Lorain County area and your kids depend on school-provided breakfast and lunch to be able to eat today and they do not have school please inbox me,” she wrote. “Someone from my company will drop some items off to you. Please feel free to share.”

Price thought she would go to the grocery store and buy some meat for sandwiches and chips and fresh fruit to put in lunch bags but the overwhelming response changed her plan.

“Some people even contacted me for their neighbors and grandchildren and nieces and nephews,” she said. “They just kept pouring in.”

Price received so many messages that she instead called a local McDonald’s and place an order for more than 100 cheeseburgers and French fries.

PHOTO: Amy Price?s husband, Jose Mendez, picks up lunches at a local McDonalds.Courtesy Amy Price
Amy Price?s husband, Jose Mendez, picks up lunches at a local McDonald's.

Price, her husband, with their 13-year-old son in tow, and her adult daughter, with her 4-year-old in tow, then hand-delivered the lunches to homes across five cities.

“We knocked on every door,” Price said. “Some kids were home alone and were taught well and wouldn’t open the door and we’d leave it there and I know they got it because the parents would private message me with their thanks.

“One parent wrote, ‘You would have thought you gave my kid $100 he’s so excited,’” she recalled. “Everyone was just so appreciative and thankful.”

PHOTO: Free lunches were delivered to more than 200 students while schools were closed for cold weather in Lorain County, Ohio.Courtesy Amy Price
Free lunches were delivered to more than 200 students while schools were closed for cold weather in Lorain County, Ohio.

Price’s good deed quickly spread through the community. With schools closed for the rest of the week, other community members organized lunch runs for Thursday and Friday.

Some people donated money while others came in person to help, often bringing along their own kids who were home from school.

PHOTO: Volunteers from across Lorain County, Ohio, helped pack lunches for kids.Courtesy Amy Price
Volunteers from across Lorain County, Ohio, helped pack lunches for kids.

Another 100 lunches were delivered on Thursday and Friday, according to Price.

Price, a Lorain County native, said she expected on Wednesday to receive about 20 messages. She called it “heartbreaking and heartwarming” to see both the need in the community and how the community stepped in to help.

“I’m amazed by how much the community came together and I realized how naive I was to the need,” she said. “This was never my intention but I think it brought a lot of awareness in my community to the need out there.”

Around 45 percent of public school students in the state of Ohio are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, according to the most recent figures from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Price said the response from people needing help and wanting to donate help fills her with hope that her work for kids can continue.

“We’ve talked about possibly keeping donations in reserve for future snow days or doing something more large-scale,” she said. “I hope this will lead to something more permanent.”

“The momentum is there,” Price said.

Comments