The summer food program known as Spokes for Hopes is reaching fewer children this summer after changing to a different delivery system.
The Well Outreach Inc., a nonprofit organization, made home lunch deliveries to kids via bicycle last year. This year, they deliver food to schools and churches and hope the children come to the food.
The program has less participation now, said Carol Wanzor, the Well Outreach director.
“This year, they put us under a different program, one that is actually under the administration of the State Department of Education,” said Wanzor. “They asked us to find different sites across the city where kids could come to us. It has been more of a challenge to feed as many children; however, it does make the meals available on a more widespread basis across the city. Last year, we were working primarily on the west side of town. This year we have sites south of Highway 7 and as far north as Trinity Church.”
The six sites include Faith Church, Emerson School, Zoe Christian Center, Trinty Baptist Church, Pirkle Pavilion and True Gospel Tabernacle.
Starting on Monday, All Saints Episcopal Church will replace Emerson School. Youth group members from local churches volunteer to make and pass out food items.
“We are partnering with a lot of churches who are thrilled to open their doors to serve these children in their neighborhoods,” said Wanzor.
Shelbi Morgan, the program’s summer coordinator, said she has enjoyed getting to meet and work with children and youth group volunteers.
“I enjoy just knowing that I am doing something good for the community,” said Morgan.
Wanzor said the program has passed out flyers and contacted past participants to increase interest in the program.
“We know that almost 50 percent of our elementary school students qualify for free or reduced meals,” said Wanzor. “During the school year, they have access to a free breakfast and a lunch; however, they do not stop being hungry in the summer. While parents have some resources to feed them, it never helps them to stretch those dollars, and the kids have access to nutritional foods in the summer.”
The director hopes to spread word of the program to assist more families.
“We really have plenty of food. We would love to feed more children,” said Wanzor. “We are doing what Christ has asked us to do.We are serving the least among us. We are caring for those that may not be able to care for themselves.”
All sites open Monday through Friday except July 4
Faith Church, 1209 S. 10th Street 11:15 to 11:45 a.m.
All Saint’s Episcopal starting June 30 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Zoe Christian Center, 2610 W. Bois d'arc 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Trinity Baptist Church, 923 N. 'B'Str. 12:00 to 12:30 p.m.
Pirkle Pavilion near 17th & Beech 12:30 to 1:00 p.m.
True Gospel Tabernacle, 301 S. 1st Str 12:45 to 1:15 p.m.