Wiedmer: COVID-19 can't derail coach John Starr's mission to feed Howard's hungry kids

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Howard football coach John Starr wears a mask and gloves as he passes out home-cooked meals to one of his players on Friday. While Starr and his wife Jennie have helped feed those in need even before school campuses closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the situation has made their charitable acts even more important.

It's 4:49 on Friday afternoon when Howard School football coach John Starr parks his white 2008 Chevrolet Suburban in front of the home of one of his most impoverished players.

In the back seat of Starr's SUV are 23 white plastic foam food boxes. Inside each one are two homemade cheeseburgers wrapped in foil, a pack of peanut butter crackers and a small bag of chips.

When the player we'll refer to as Robert (for privacy reasons) emerges from his house a few seconds later, Starr - who's wearing a protective mask and rubber gloves in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines - rolls down a window and asks, from a safe distance, of course: "How many do you need today?"

Robert replies that he needs four meals: one for himself, one for a brother who attends a different high school and two for his sisters.