For the past two weeks, I have had the privilege of helping with the Summer Food Program. The leadership center is currently on its second summer of participating in the program. To summarize, the Summer Food Program provides lunches to children ages 18 and under throughout the summer months. It is run through the USDA and is constantly reviewed and is well regulated.
Usually around 11:15, we pack up all of the food and supplies and transport it to the site where we will serve the food. For an area to be considered for a site, at least 50% of the area must be under the poverty line. Then at 11:30, we start serving the food. Meals range from hamburgers to enchiladas and are made at The Leadership Center. Healthy eating is something that we strive for, so we ensure that the kids receive two or more servings of fruits and vegetables with each meal. We usually have options such as watermelon, carrots, and oranges.
In addition to the food, we like to provide enrichment activities for the kids to participate in. We’ve had fun games such as kickball, but we’ve also had games where the kids learn important lessons. One game that we had kids play is Pretzel. The game consists of the kids standing in a circle and grabbing each others’ hands- but not of the person next to them. The goal is for them to work together to untangle their arms and make a circle. It teaches teamwork and patience.
This Tuesday, Abby and I were in charge of running the entirety of the program for the day since Kurt was not in the office that day. In total, we served 36 kids, which is the highest number we have had since we started helping with the program. For the enrichment activity of the day, we played kickball. The kids really enjoy playing this game and chose it over the other options.
We also did an interview with Pure Nebraska and were asked various questions about the program. It was really fun to reflect on the program and how it helps the community. The Summer Food Program is a lot more than just providing food. It gives kids a safe environment to eat food, spend time with other kids, and have fun.
Being able to help with the program has been a lot of fun and I have learned a lot about the community and working with kids.