Wayne and Corrie Kirkpatrick saw their chance to help their community when schools shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In late March, the Kirkpatricks—owners of the Four Corner Variety convenience store in Union, Maine—began providing free sack lunches to children through a partnership with foodservice supplier Performance Food Group. Each sack lunch included a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chips, fruit snacks and either fruit punch or apple juice. The Kirkpatricks and their kitchen staff would begin making lunches at 6 a.m. and were out delivering to homes by 10 a.m.—all while maintaining daily store operations. “We didn’t do [the program] for the popularity or for a pat on the back,” Wayne Kirkpatrick says. “We did it to help the kids.” Since its launch, the program has extended beyond Union’s community of 2,200 people to nine other towns in Maine. The program was so successful that the Kirkpatricks included a senior living center across the way as a donation spot. The community involvement is the foremost reason the program has flourished, Kirkpatrick says. The store’s Facebook post promoting the donations has reached 40,000 people and has nearly 1,000 shares. One anonymous customer donated $300 in cash for the lunches.
Through its program, Wayne and Corrie Kirkpatrick and their kitchen staff would begin making lunches at 6 a.m. and were out delivering to homes by 10 a.m.—all while maintaining daily store operations.