Georgia Rice ’22 remembers her brother, Jackson ’19, helping to organize a food packing event in the Steinbrenner Recreation Center for his senior service project. The participation of so many Culver Academies students to help feed people across the globe struck a nerve.
So when the coronavirus pandemic brought the closure of most of the businesses in the Culver area, Rice began searching for a way to help. Following the food packing concept, her father, Tim, suggested something on a smaller scale.
His suggestion turned into a food distribution event that was able to assist 100 families with two bags of nonperishable items that Rice, her mother, Shelly, and father handed out in the Culver Town Park on May 27. The items included canned fruit and vegetables, oatmeal, spaghetti, instant potatoes, and cans of soup.
Rice raised the money through donations from her family, local friends, and members of Harbor dorm. She raised $2,000, which would not have purchased that much, she admitted. But the management at the local grocery store, Park ‘N’ Shop, provided deep discounts on the selected items. That made her money stretch much further.
“That was really nice,” she added.
To maintain social distancing protocol, Rice developed a drive-through system so people could pull up in their cars and pop open their trunks or tailgates. Some people asked for the food bags to be placed on their back seats. Several people were already in the parking lot outside the Beach Lodge as the Rices prepared to open. She wore gloves and a face mask while distributing the food bags.
The two-hour distribution “went really well,” Rice said. What food wasn’t distributed is being given to a church food pantry in nearby Delong.