Church's food boxes feed Colvin families

The 250 boxes held tortillas, beans, cereal, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, canned soups, tuna and vegetables.

They quickly disappeared as volunteers with Crossroad Fellowship Bible Church handed them out to families of Colvin Elementary students in south Wichita this week.

"Our families struggle with poverty," said Deanna Joynes, social worker at the school. Of the approximately 875 students at the school, 98 percent qualify for free or reduced-price meals during the school year.

Colvin Elementary, 2820 S. Roosevelt, is in the heart of the Planeview neighborhood. Most of the houses were built in the 1940s with the escalation of World War II and the growth of the airplane industry.

Nearly seven decades later, seven ethnic groups and 19 languages are represented in Planeview, one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the state.

"I feel like a lot of the families are very modest," Joynes said. "Our families struggle.

"I remember going into a school bathroom and encountering a mom washing her girl's hair in the sink. When she talked with me, she informed me the water had been shut off at their home."

The food boxes may not be much, but they will help families get through the Christmas season, said Robyn Cooper, a school volunteer and a coordinator with the Crossroad church, which has done a project in the neighborhood for five years.

"Everything is nonperishable," Cooper said. "It is so the children can open a box and eat if they need to."