In June 2014, Champions for Kids launched an incredible #SIMPLEService campaign with Tyson Foods, known as Summer of Giving, encouraging people to find small ways to serve the food insecure children in their communities. In return for their service and stories, three winners were chosen for a $25,000 award for their local school district.
We owe so many thanks to all that participated and are so thrilled to announce our three winners!
Fuel for School, Smyrna Elementary School
In a small county in Tennessee, Smyrna Elementary desperately needed support for a feeding program. The “food insecure” children at Smyrna counted on two meals a day (breakfast and lunch) during the school week, but often went home to empty pantries over the weekends. The school provided “backpacks” of kid-friendly meals and snacks to only 30 out of the 100 qualified children in need. The Sunshine Circle at the United Methodist Church set an initial goal to provide 5 more children with “backpacks” each week.
The “backpacks” were made of one gallon zipper food bags, and included the following: One milk, one fruit juice, two breakfast items, two dinner meal items, and two healthy snack items.
“Often times when we feel we are too small to make an impact on an issue as serious, desperate and vast as childhood hunger, it strengthens our morale to hear of programs like the Summer of Giving. We can see and hear about others like us, which with support from larger groups, can make a tangible difference in the lives of our communities’ children,” shares Sherill Pitts of the United Methodist Church.
Boys and Girls Club of McGehee
In McGehee, Arkansas, 100 children visit the Boys and Girls Club every day, ages 6-18, for summer programs. This includes a summer food program that provides breakfast and lunch. In working with the Boys and Girls Club summer programs, volunteers decided to follow the guidelines of Summer of Giving and combine cooking, nutrition, and cultural awareness. Volunteers took six children to Walmart and the kids picked Tyson products from the freezer section to use for the breakfast and lunch programs.
The children (under the supervision of adults!) made rice and cooked a stir fry meal, using a wok and chopsticks. A few days later, the kids prepared and served wings for movie day. For a carnival, corn dogs and chicken fries were the treat of the day! Good nutrition was also taught with servings of broccoli and quinoa, plus a discussion about the benefits of olive oil and fresh herbs. The kids were thrilled to be in the kitchen wearing aprons and learning about preparing food and the change of pace was welcome.
“Serving them and watching them eat was such a blessing. They were so proud that they prepared the meal themselves,” Amanda Pambianchi explained. “I learned long ago that every child wants to be a leader and wants to be recognized. By giving THEM the opportunity to shop, plan, prepare, serve, and learn, they will carry these memories. It may inspire them to share their time, talents, and resources.”
Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter
Mondelez International’s corporate dream is to create “delicious moments of joy” through their snacks, and when they learned of the Summer of Giving program, they knew exactly how to inspire and lead from the heart. When Walmart Northwest Arkansas LPGA Championship asked for product and truck donations for their Drive for Hope initiative, benefiting the NWA Children’s Shelter, the folks at Mondelez International didn’t hesitate to say “Yes!”
NWA Children’s Shelter provides a round-the-clock safe haven for neglected, abused, and abandoned children. Now in its 20th year, NWA Children’s Shelter has opened its doors to more than 7,200 children who usually arrive with only the clothes on their backs. The shelter provides protection, education, counseling, and nutrition for its guests.
“We know that by responding, in even such a relatively small way – by leading from the head and the heart – we have potentially played a part in positive transformations for dozens (and perhaps even hundreds) of kids,” said Todd Hanus, Customer Vice President of Mondelez International.
Congratulations to our winners and a huge thank you to our incredible sponsors – Tyson, Birds Eye, and State Fair! You are all Champions!