The Boyd County School District is reaching out in a time of need.
The school district provided free meals on Saturday and will offer a hot meal again today at Boyd County High School and Catlettsburg Elementary from 1 to 5 p.m. as a way to help residents through the water crisis.
With many families without water because of the many line breaks, Boyd County Schools Superintendent Brock Walter thought it was the right thing to do. His staff quickly put together a plan and many others from the business community volunteered to help either with food, donating money or manpower.
More than 200 had come through the doors at Catlettsburg Elementary for a meal of a hot dog, baked beans, apple, cookies and orange juice, milk or water. The numbers were similar at Boyd County High School, which was offered a place for water displaced residents to shower.
“There are families all over the community without water,” Walter said. “I would like to thank the volunteers and to my staff for how quickly they put this together.”
It went off without a hitch, he said. Several non-school personnel volunteered time, including Dr. Richard Ford from King’s Daughters Medical Center who worked the food line for nearly two hours at Catlettsburg. All totaled, more than 100 volunteers, including Boyd County staff and students, volunteered time.
“With the water outages and us being out of school so much since Christmas, we thought this was the right thing to do,” Walter said.
Mary Fritz, the director of food services at Boyd County, called it “a good opportunity to serve the area.”
The meals were available to anyone who wanted them, she said. They also delivered meals to shut-ins, the Ashland Fire Department, city and county workers and residents at Grandview Manor. Several others came by and had meals taken out to them in a makeshift “drive-thru” at the elementary school.
“We’ve had people without any water to drink, cook with or to shower with,” Fritz said. “They didn’t want to even get out of their cars.”
Catlettsburg Mayor Randall Peterman brought over cases of water to distribute to those who came to the school, which was a busy place with elementary basketball games being played and registration set up for youth baseball leagues.
“We’ve had so many businesses help,” Fritz said.
Along with the hot dog meal, a sack lunch was also prepared for anyone who wanted it as they left.
Walter said this wasn’t an original idea. He said Bell County Superintendent Kenny Bell did a similar project with his school system during a community crisis.
Like most school systems in the area, Boyd County has been out more than in since returning from Christmas break.
Walter said Boyd County has lost 14 days and been in classes nine since returning in January.
“I’m sure the kids and the parents are getting a little cabin fever,” he said. “My son even told me he was ready to go back to school.”
Walter said the missed school days are also missed hot meals for many of the students.
“The school food may be the best one or two hot meals of the day for a lot of them,” he said.
When the students do return to classes, there will be plenty of bottled water available.
Walter said the district purchased 6,000 six-ounce bottles. Also, Boyd County Emergency Management supplied the school with 64 cases of water, he said.
The menu for the hot meal today will be turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and green beans, Fritz said.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.