CHIPS helping feed families in Portsmouth

Posted at 5:35 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 18:03:01-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A local emergency medic is taking action to help make sure kids have enough to eat.

It's part of the job for law enforcement to sometimes disconnect so they can tackle the job at hand. But Kellie Wells, who is going on her eighth year being an emergency medic, couldn't after seeing kids starve.

"I wasn't able to accept that I'm not able to look at a problem and see it on a daily basis without doing something to fix it," said Wells.

She started Child Hunger Intervention with Public Safety or CHIPS. Her dream was to have a program where Portsmouth law enforcement could help families know when their next meal would be.

"We feed them every other week. We gave them fresh produce, some nonperishable food items. We distributed just over 9,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as bread items," said Wells. 

Over the summer, CHIPS made six food drops for people living in Portsmouth  neighborhoods, feeding nearly 1,300 people. Tia Smith came to every drop.

"It was very stress relieving so you don't have to sit there and wonder when they next meal or portion of your meal will come from," said Smith, who would worry about how hungry her kids are.

Portsmouth Fire, Sheriff's Office and police chipped in to help Wells with the program. The CHIPS program collected nearly 9,000 pounds of fresh produce and 700 pounds of bread.

After success over the summer, Wells is working to expand CHIPS and turn it into a nonprofit organization.