ST. LOUIS — During a typical school year, the days leading up to spring break are filled with daydreams of vacation plans and the anticipation of a week off. This year, the students and staff at Lift for Life Academy were already ordered out of the building amidst growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

However, while the students were at home during the end of what would have been their last week before spring break, staff members were testing out a new program to make sure their students are fed during their time at home. 

“We call it the Hawks on Wheels program," Athletic Director Chandra Palmer said. “As long as we’re out of school, the students will get fed every day.”

Palmer, who was charged to spearhead the program, said they were able to work out some of the kinks last week and will be ready to roll it out in full force on March 30, when students were supposed to go back to school. 

“Our bus drivers, teacher volunteers and some of our hourly workers will participate and we will deliver meals,” Palmer said. “Our chef and kitchen staff pack the meals, and we have a lot donors. We actually had three more donors come in this week. We have great family and friends of our staff members who are wanting to donate.”

5 On Your Side worked with Lift for Life last summer to help open its elementary school this school year. With three schools, Palmer said Hawks on Wheels will serve about 715 households.

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“Any child that’s under the age of 18 that’s in the home that does not have food, we provided food for those students as well," Palmer said.

Bus drivers will stop at regular bus stops for middle and high school students and deliver food directly to homes for elementary school students. However, Palmer said the drivers took their work a step further during the trial run.

“Some of our bus drivers, if they felt like those students didn’t come to that stop at that time, they went door-to-door and blew the horn so the students came out," Palmer said. 

Lift for Life is a public charter school, so students' homes are scattered across the city. 

“We’re on the west, we’re north side, we’re south side, we’re deep south, we’re everywhere,” Palmer said. “If you’re a city resident, you can attend our school and we will deliver to you.”

Anyone interested in donating food or volunteering to deliver the meals can contact Palmer at 314-479-9566 or c.palmer@liftforlifeacademy.org. You can also visit the school's website.

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