Church Making Sure Kids Eat Well This Summer

The kitchen at Rose of Sharon Church of God is starting to look more like a school cafeteria this summer. That's because the church is making sure area children can still get tasty nutritious meals this summer.

"What it does is to help the kids through the summer that would not normally get two good meals a day," Pastor David Simmons said. "This will make sure they get these two good meals a day while school is out of session."

The church serves about a 150 kids breakfast and lunch to some 250 to 300 children each weekday. Most of these youngsters are from the Boys and Girls Club in Picayune. But the free meals are offered to any needy child in the community.

"We've had kids, they were coming in looking for meals and looking for something to eat, and I didn't know that this really existed here but it does," Simmons said. "They are set up on nutritional guidelines they get milk they get meat, fruits, vegetables and those type things."

The feeding program does more than give these children balanced meals. It also keeps them off the streets and out of trouble. The kids from the Boys and Girls Club love the program.

"We usually like play basketball and do activities in the classroom, kickball and all that. By the time we get here, we're hungry," 15-year-old Trey Vechtel said.

Many of the people who serve lunch and breakfast are volunteers.

"They know that sense of volunteerism, and it makes them feel good on the inside, and then it's something we also teach about being able to help somebody," Simmons said.

These youngsters say that help is greatly appreciated. In the evenings, the church teaches the children about character building and morals. The program is funded by a $16,000 grant, from the State Department of Education and the Picayune Community Action Agency.