Providing food to students during extended academic breaks when school meals aren’t available is a big component of Food for Kids programming.
Brennan Grey grew up in the Tulsa area and now studies English and Creative Writing at TU. He worked last summer in the Summer Feeding Program because he understands that for children, summer isn’t fun when you’re hungry. Brennan was engaged from day one, forming bonds with the children who visited the Mobile Eatery, serving food with the other staff and volunteers, and keeping the kids entertained and engaged.
With the help of multiple volunteers and a group of dedicated VISTA’s,
the Culinary Center provides thousands of meals each week during summer.
“At the beginning, the hardest part of our job was realizing we could not solve every problem we saw. But on the last day, I learned the actual hardest part; I had to say goodbye. I feel like pieces of me are still drawn in sidewalk chalk next to our picnic tables. Now, I’m hopeful these kids know there are other people out there who care about them, regardless of race, class, or age. To them I’ll always be the guy hanging out the window.”
Brennen formed a close bond with one 12-year-old, who witnessed a shooting one evening. Brennen contemplated the incident, “Just hearing gunshots within your community is not something I would wish on my little brother, or any child for that matter. Sadly, this was not the last time he heard gunfire that summer.”
One day when asking trivia questions to a group of kids Brennen noted, “Whenever they got an answer right they would high five, hug, and get fresh fruit for knowing facts. At the same time, they were having fun, learning and receiving nutritious food that would otherwise be unavailable for them.”
Reflecting on the summer Brennen said, “Kids got outside, made friends, ate healthy food, and showed the world that their community is real. The summer program brings people together to eat as a family, and as far as I am concerned there is no higher goal.”