A story published in The New York Times Friday featured a local Brenham family.

In a report published by Manny Fernandez, the New York Times’ Houston bureau chief, Jordan Spahn, Summer Mossbarger and their six kids were featured as they try to navigate feeding six mouths with little or no work during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“If we didn’t have this, I probably would have a mental breakdown with stress,” Mossbarger told the newspaper of the free meals being provided to students at Alton Elementary. “I’m not going to let my kids go hungry. If I have to just eat once a day, that’s what I have to do.”

The school district has since expanded its drive-thru meal service with two additional locations.

According to previous Banner-Press reporting, Brenham ISD kicked off efforts to feed its students Monday, and the food drive continued into the week as district volunteers delivered meals from the Alton Elementary School parking lot to children of all grade levels. The upstart project became necessary as the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak keeps school doors closed for the foreseeable future.

With families in Brenham in need of meals for their children, BISD and its child nutrition department are working to provide a hot lunch and cold breakfast. On Tuesday, children received lunch for the day and breakfast for Wednesday, and the district plans to continue that formula moving forward.

Meals are handed out between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Drive-through times and daily menu items will be posted on BISD’s Facebook page.

“It’s a community crisis, so we’re going to try to do whatever we can – no matter how big it is or small it is – to help out in whatever way possible,” said Brenham High School Principal Joe Chandler, who wore medical gloves as he handed out meals with his colleagues. “And that’s kind of the philosophy of the district. No one is too big or too small to lend a hand.”

Amongst those receiving meals were Spahn, Mossberger and their six kids. The family has had their fair share of heartbreak in the last few years and months.

“We’ve been through some hard times in these past 16, 17 months,” Jordan Spahn told the New York Times. “We’ve had heartache, heartbreak and now with this coming on, it’s kind of like, all right, bring it.”

It seems Spahn capitalized on the exposure provided by The Times report, starting a GoFundMe page to help the family make it through the COVID-19 shutdown.

The GoFundMe page, which was posted about noon Friday, jumped to more than $11,000 by Saturday mornimg toward a $10,000 goal. More than 100 people donated various amounts to the family.


Banner-Press sports editor Joe Alberico contributed to this report.

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