EARLY YEARS: Roanoke literacy program now serving as a food distribution site during coronavirus pandemic

Candace Hess with Kids Soar says the literacy organization is serving even more families during...
Candace Hess with Kids Soar says the literacy organization is serving even more families during the COVID-19 pandemic(WDBJ)
Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 5:22 AM EDT
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Businesses and non-profits alike are thinking outside the box, and serving our community in new ways during this coronavirus pandemic.

For 31 years, Kids Soar has been serving Roanoke-area children, starting as a ministry at Trinity United Methodist Church.

"They started pretty much as a babysitting service, but then realized that there was a lot of need in the community for children to have a safe place to go and have a warm meal and help with homework," says Candace Hess with Kids Soar.

It evolved into the Community Outreach Program, and now the non-profit, Kids Soar. Currently, there are about 45 children enrolled in the faith- based, after-school literacy program.

"So, we're not teaching children to read, though. We are helping them develop a love of reading," says Hess. "So, they get homework help when they come here. They get a snack. We use a curriculum called 'Kids Lit' that helps with the literacy portion. We also do science, and music and art."

With the current coronavirus pandemic, kids aren't able to come here right now.

Through its partnership with Feeding America Southwest Virginia, Kids Soar is serving the greater community as a food distribution center.

"We have now shifted to where we are like a food pantry drop off, either drive through and pick up a meal. And that's not just for our families. We are open to the public."

The change is offering its own valuable life lesson to the children.

"We teach a lot with the kids about being part of the community. And to be part of the community, it means you still need to be doing something with the community, even when times are tough."

There are so many services Kids Soar provides, including a clothes closet.

to find out more details about food distribution.

Also, King Screen has a page devoted to t-shirts designed by local companies, and for every t-shirt sold, Kings Screen is giving $10 back to that small business. Kids Soar has their own t-shirt design, and when people buy a shirt, they're supporting Kids Soar and King Screen.

for that information.

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