FLORENCE, S.C. — Jack’s Place restaurant has been providing free meals to Florence school children this week.
“We started on Monday,” owner Jack Holt said.
Parents can pick up the meals between 11 a.m. and noon.
He said his family, which owns several restaurants in Florence, wanted to help out and make sure all school children were being fed as the schools closed this week.
Holt isn’t sure how long Jack’s will be providing meals. He has reached out to a person in food service at one school in the district about becoming a satellite location for parents to pick up meals provided by their school.
“We hope they will consider parking a bus here,” Holt said.
He is concerned that not everyone will know where to go to pick up food. He said Jack’s Place is very visible and people have already started coming there to get food. The restaurant is at 1520 American Drive.
Holt said the restaurant has been averaging about 250 box lunches a day since Monday.
“It seems to pick up each day,” he said.
Holt said Wednesday’s lunch was a “fun lunch” of corn dog nuggets, cookie and chips. At the first of the week the lunches had mashed potatoes, rice and other items.
As people drive up, Holt said, his staff asks how many children they have who need lunches.
Employee Dalton Hutchinson said people have been very thankful.
“One group comes every day from a day care,” he said. “People have been very supportive.”
“It has helped us tremendously,” said Brittney Jefferson, owner/director of Primary Learning Center at 600-A Pamplico Highway. “I love it. It has been a godsend.”
“The grocery store shelves are empty,” she said.
Primary Learning Center is an untraditional day-care-type facility. It offers short-term care, after-school care and targeted tutoring for children up to 12 years of age.
Jefferson said the after-school program has been busy this week.
Holt said right now the center is are serving anyone who says he or she has a need.
“We go on faith. We don’t want any child to go hungry,” Holt said. “We want to help. We all need to forget about whether we are Republican or Democrat. We are all Americans. This country was built on helping one another. Everyone knows I am a Christian, and the Bible says to love one another. We all need to pull together.”
Holt said this is a joint effort between the Holts. His sons Zack, John and Patrick work alongside their father at Jack’s Place, Holt Bros. BBQ and 1720 Burger Bar.