Millions of students in the United States rely on school for free or low-cost meals, but with a majority of the country’s schools closed due to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, many children no longer have access to affordable lunches.

Fortunately, times of crisis bring out the best in communities like Albertville, Alabama, where Sand Mountain Toyota is one of many local businesses providing K-12 students with free lunches.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday employees from the dealership will be grilling and serving hundreds of hotdogs and hamburgers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All parents have to do is drive up and let  Sand Mountain’s staff know how many they’ll need.

Mark Brickey, president of Sand Mountain Toyota, got the idea to serve free meals from Marshal Brooks, the dealership’s service lane manager.

“I had bought some items yesterday for the Wildcat Pantry in Guntersville and I was headed to a meeting for the Albertville schools,” said Brickey. “As I was leaving, Marshal Brooks approached me and thought it would be a good thing for us to do for the kids in the community and surrounding communities.”

A Facebook post announcing the dealership’s plan to serve free lunches garnered more than 2,000 shares in the following hours and days.

“We are always looking for ways to positively impact our community and help those in need.”

Brooks said he’s confident that his community will continue to come together and support one another.

“What we’re seeing with local schools and local businesses, as hard of a time as this is, there are a lot of people stepping up to take care of not just the kids, but everyone in need,” he said.

Originally published March 25, 2020

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