Grace Smith | Broadcast Reporter
The COVID-19 pandemic has halted activity on Baylor University’s campus, but the virus has not stopped the University’s lights from shining bright throughout the Waco community and beyond.
Jeremy Everett, the founder and Executive Director of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, said that we must love our neighbors as ourselves. Everett spoke about how his team created a “curbside meal program once the first 200 Texas school districts announced their temporary closure due to the virus.
“Our team started a website, and we began to work with those school districts to be able to find out how we can serve meals to kids, even when the kids will be out of school,” Everett said. “Essentially, those kids could just drive up to a school, or a non-profit organization, or church parking lot, and pick up a meal and take it home.”
The team also is in partnership with the U.S Department of Agriculture and is working on a program called “Meals-To-You” where boxes of food will be shipped to children who live in rural areas across the nation.
“We have this firm belief that hunger and poverty are too big for any one organization or any one sector to address by themselves—it takes a collaborative approach,” Everett said. “To be able to see that theory come to life and yield millions and millions of meals for kids around the country is pretty special.”
Dr. Jeremy Vickers, Baylor’s Associate Vice President of External Affairs, said that people either fall on their faith or from their faith during unprecedented times. Vickers said that he has seen so many people at Baylor fall on their faith during this pandemic as his team has stepped up during COVID-19.
“We want Baylor and Waco to be like brothers and sisters — not separate but together,” Vickers said. “We have a vision that we want to paint the town green and gold.”
Vickers said when the virus rapidly hit, his team saw an opportunity to partner with Waco ISD to create inspiration and encourage students and their families through the creation of “Keep Learning, Keep Reading.”
The campaign encourages literacy during COVID-19. A series of videos are posted on the Solid Gold Neighbor Facebook page where weekly posts feature Baylor and Waco community leaders reading their favorite children’s books.