RIVERDALE — School is out for summer, but Riverdale Middle School was buzzing with activity Friday morning.

Volunteers were gathered at 8 a.m. to begin packing food boxes to pass out to the community as part of Clayton County Public Schools’ Friday Food Pantries program. Every Friday through July 16, the district will host a pantry throughout the county to pass along food to the community.

Riverdale Middle School coordinator Amanda Moore said volunteers have been working together and passing out food since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last March. She said the meals are a blessing.

“This is something to help fill the gap,” Moore said. “Our schools are a staple in our communities, and we feed everyone that needs it.”

Vernice and Nehemiah Johnson have been visiting the school for over a year. The couple said the meals they receive come in handy.

“The food we receive is excellent, and everyone here is so friendly,” Vernice Johnson said.

Moore encourages all in need to come out to the food pantry.

“There’s no judgement and no shame,” she said, “We don’t turn anyone away, and we’re here to help.”

Riverdale Middle School Principal Prince Bowie was among the volunteers Friday. He said he’s there every week to make a connection with the community.

“It’s awesome we’re able to do this, and I’m excited to be able to give back to our families like this,” he said. “Our schools have a strong impact on our community, and we have good people here.”

The food pantry offers a variety of foods including breakfast cereal, bread, meats, spices, canned and fresh vegetables and salads.

Five locations will be distributing food packages from noon to 2 p.m. every Friday.

♦ Lee Street Elementary, 178 Lee St. in Jonesboro

♦ Huie Elementary, 1260 Rock Cut Road in Forest Park

♦ West Clayton Elementary, 5580 Riverdale Road in Atlanta

♦ Riverdale Middle School, 400 Roberts Drive in Riverdale

♦ Lovejoy High School, 1587 McDonough Road in Hampton

In addition to food pantries, the district is offering free summer meals to children ages 18 and younger and older students with physical or mental disabilities through July 23, except July 5. Food will be distributed from 8 a.m. to noon at the following locations:

♦ Babb Middle School, 5500 Reynolds Road, Forest Park

♦ Brown Elementary School, 9971 Poston Road, Jonesboro

♦ Church Street Elementary, 7013 Church St., Riverdale

♦ Fountain Elementary School, 5215 West St., Forest Park

♦ Hawthorne Elementary, 10750 English Road, Hampton

♦ Haynie Elementary, 1169 Morrow Road, Morrow

♦ Huie Elementary School, 1260 Rock Cut Road, Forest Park

♦ Lee Street Elementary, 178 Lee St., Jonesboro

♦ Smith Elementary School, 6340 Ga. Highway 42 South, Rex

♦ Swint Elementary, 500 Ga. Highway 138 Southeast, Jonesboro

♦ Tara Elementary, 937 Mount Zion Road, Morrow

♦ West Clayton Elementary, 5580 Riverdale Road, College Park

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