COLUMBIA - EquipmentShare employees teamed up with Columbia Public Schools teachers a year ago to create the No Child Hungry program. The program was started to provide meals to Columbia families in need throughout the pandemic.

“A year ago, when we found out that our kids were not going to be in school for spring break, and then at least a week afterwards, our first worry was, how are we going to feed our children?” Christy Perkey, first grade teacher at New Haven Elementary School, said.

Since the start, the No Child Hungry program has provided more than 140,000 meals to Columbia families. On Thursday, No Child Hungry added to that number as it held a food drive at New Haven Elementary School to give out 200 grocery bags filled with food staples, snacks and toiletries.

Craig Hindelang, an EquipmentShare employee and No Child Hungry program leader said in a press release the group plans on continuing to feed children and families who need it.

“It’s been a year and 140,000 meals later, and we’re not stopping,” he said. “There’s a need to fill in this community, and we’ll be there to fill it as long as we can.”

A number of CPS teachers were at Thursday’s drive. Jeremiah Settles, a science teacher at Oakland Middle School in Columbia, said the initial goal in March of 2020 was just to provide 500 meals.

“We broke that in two days,” he said. “It’s been going on ever since and it’s been amazing.”

Settles said No Child Hungry providing so many meals to local families took community members coming together.

“It doesn’t take big companies to make differences,” he said. “Whether it’s just helping a neighbor or helping a friend or helping a family down the road, all of those things are doable for anybody.”