As you’re well aware, children who depend on school meal programs are at an increased risk of hunger during the summer months because they lose access to these vital programs. This summer, your gifts are being used to fill the plates of children like Keyvonta, 8, with balanced meals.
Keyvonta lives with his little brother, 6, and father, Gerald, in Gallatin. His dad does his best to provide for the boys as a school facility manager, but he sometimes finds affording enough food to be tough — especially during the summer months.
Fortunately, Keyvonta is able to visit Gallatin Shalom Zone, an after-school and summertime meal and enrichment program not far from his home. As a Second Harvest Partner Agency, Shalom Zone’s summer camp provides 85 children with breakfast from the Food Bank and other meals with the help of local churches. The program focuses on physical fitness, literacy, and many creative activities.
When classes are in session, Keyvonta and other students head to Shalom Zone after school to enjoy outdoor activities, share a warm dinner and do homework. Teachers at Shalom Zone communicate with those at local schools to update them on students’ curriculum and behavior.
P.J. Davis, Shalom Zone’s executive director, says kids’ grades get better with the more time they spend in the program.
“It improves behavior, focus, energy and everything that goes with food,” she says of the meal program provided through your support.
Keyvonta’s dad was recently able to secure a second, part-time job doing custodial work for Shalom Zone, and he says it’s great to see his son access help with schoolwork and share a healthy meal with his friends. Gerald has so much appreciation for supporters like you who make it all possible.
“He’s around more kids, learning new stuff and has help with homework,” Gerald says. “I appreciate what you’re doing. It’s really been a help to my son.”