East Central Elementary faculty and staff have turned their building into a hub for not only providing a quality education for the students they serve, but also extending their reach to help families in their community.
Recently Faith Cole, a second-grade educator who also spearheaded the We Care Service Center’s food program, was asked by CEO Carlotta Harward to serve on the executive board for Helping Hands Ending Hunger Inc.
Helping Hands Ending Hunger Inc. and Harward have been instrumental in East Central’s mission to provide qualifying families with much needed food items. Helping Hands Ending Hunger is tasked with walking schools through the process of collecting school cafeteria meals that would normally be thrown away and staying within the legal guidelines set by state law.
A huge part of that effort has been implemented in the form of the We Care Service Center which collects and stores extra food from the school cafeteria. The center also receives donations of gently-used clothing, school supplies for families in need and connects families to resources in the community.
“I can’t begin to express how grateful East Central is for Ms. Harward and her staff for the knowledge and guidance they have offered us while starting our We Care Service Center,” said Cole “When I saw the email from Ms. Harward asking me to join their executive board, I told her I would absolutely serve with them. I was so excited because I have never been asked to serve on an executive board before.”
Part of Cole’s responsibilities while serving on the board will be to develop ways to push programs like the We Care Service Center out to other schools in the state. Helping Hands Ending Hunger is already working in approximately seven Georgia counties, and their goal is to make sure every child has a chance to have a healthy meal outside the walls of the schools.
“We have just added a huge amount of schools in Dougherty County, so we really need to get the word out,” said Cole. “Our state superintendent, Richard Woods, is supportive of this program, and the state health department has signed off on our program and said that it is safe and legal.”
The newly appointed executive board member for Helping Hands Ending Hunger Inc. recalled a time she learned that the food sent home by the school was the only food one of their families had for the weekend.
“This is amazing for Ms. Cole, East Central and for Rome City Schools,” said Kristin Teems, principal for EC. “I am just beyond thrilled that Ms. Harward and Helping Hands Ending Hunger have selected her to help lead the organization, and we are so proud of the work she has done for our school.”