WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Patrick Cobb knows how to shop.
That’s because Cobb has been shopping to fill roughly 30 food bags a week for about seven years to deliver to families in need at Saluda River Academy for the Arts.
If you’re doing your math, that’s 1,560 food bags a year.
Cobb and his organization, AARP SC, are among many Lexington County churches, businesses and other community groups that help provide food bags throughout the year to help families in need at some Lexington Two schools.
Cobb, whose parents were both teachers in Lexington Two, first got involved with Saluda River through a friend who taught ESOL at the school. That friend put him in touch with teacher Julia Claytor, who confirmed the need for food help. Claytor worked at the time with churches and other organizations to gather food donations for some of the school’s families.
“I thought if I could do that, it would allow her some time back to work with the children,” Cobb said. Over time, Cobb, with help from his AARP colleagues, has made it a priority to fund, shop for, and assemble and deliver food bags to Saluda River.
“I shop for the items, sort them in my garage via a shelving unit, pack the bags and deliver them to SRAA,” Cobb said. “It takes me about an hour to pack a two weeks’ supply of bags. I’ve got it down to a science of how many fruit cups, juice boxes and other items I need to purchase. For the holidays, we packed a larger bag of food items to go home to help provide a few hot meals and breakfasts.”
Numerous churches and organizations give weekly food donations to some Lexington Two families, including Crossroads Outreach Center in Lexington, The Scooter Scott Project, Harvest Hope, Platt Springs United Methodist Church, Transfiguration Lutheran Church and many others.
Cobb said it’s important to give back, adding that the donations are “a great way to help a school with a need.”
“The bags are just a small way of making sure that kids from SRAA don’t go hungry over the weekend,” the Airport High graduate said. “You should never lose sight of your roots.”