No virus can wipe out a community’s spirit


Hands washed.


Hair net in place.


Protective gloves.


I hope those allergy meds kicked in.

It’s been an odd week for us in Wayne County, in North Carolina and nationwide.

Although the coronavirus (COVID-19) has created self-distancing, self-isolation and other necessary measures, it certainly hasn’t broken our spirit as a community.

That was evident this past Thursday while I spent the morning with the kitchen staff at Brogden Middle School. I’ve never seen a team work as quickly and efficiently as this six-member crew did to prepare approximately 200 meals for needy families.

Breakfast goodies filled white bags and sat inside boxes on the counters.

Fresh ham sandwiches cooled in the refrigerator.

The group prepared turkey and cheese sandwiches as a backup.

Of course, what breakfast or lunch isn’t complete without milk?

BMS kitchen manager Alice Cook said she had prepared field trip meals before, but never in an emergency situation. She confidently buzzed around all morning, took a short break with her co-workers and quickly got back to business before the parents arrived.

“I cannot be more proud of our school nutrition department and all of the cafeteria workers who helped make WCPS among the first school districts in North Carolina to offer this level of service during this closure,” said Dr. Michael Dunsmore, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools.

The recognition is well deserved.

These behind-the-scenes individuals, at 11 different locations, tirelessly and selflessly prepared approximately 5,000 meals to prevent children from going hungry this past week. They are unsung heroes in my eyes.

As the line of cars began to grow and spill onto the highway in front of the school, I couldn’t help but smile.

There is still good in this world.

Rudy Coggins is the assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at


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