Help Oki volunteers Aubrie Owens, left, and Yoko Nesbitt prepare bento lunch boxes for needy Okinawans, Thursday, March 12, 2020. AYA ICHIHASHI/STARS AND STRIPES
Help Oki volunteers Aubrie Owens, left, and Yoko Nesbitt prepare bento lunch boxes for needy Okinawans, Thursday, March 12, 2020. AYA ICHIHASHI/STARS AND STRIPES

US military community teams with Okinawans to feed local schoolchildren during coronavirus outbreak

by Aya Ichihashi
Stars and Stripes

URUMA CITY, Okinawa — Donations of bento boxes for local schoolchildren missing their daily lunch brightened an otherwise gloomy Thursday in Uruma City.

Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked that schools across the country close during March to stem the spread of coronavirus, some children on the island prefecture are going without their only healthy meal of the day.

American and local volunteers stepped up to ease that need by collecting 126 Japanese box lunches, called bento, along with 10 cases of fruit drinks and 30 pounds of rice and distributing it at Grace Asia International Church.

“When I heard of the school closure, my immediate concern was those less fortunate children who rely on the free school lunch,” said Chris Nesbitt, director of Help Oki, on Thursday. “For those kids, school lunch may be their only nutritious meal of the day.”

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.622268

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