Service extension feeds more than the body

by Megan Woods – 

Summer Intern from
Whitman College

The day I arrived at The Salvation Army’s Walla Walla Service Extension office, we only had six kids turn up for our summer lunch program. Six kids attending the program was great, but we knew there was much more need in this low-income community. We hit the streets and passed out over 400 English/Spanish fliers notifying the neighborhood about our free lunch program.

In addition to feeding the hungry stomachs of children, we also wanted to offer them a safe place to play during the summer, so we scheduled games and activities everyday after lunch. While we played kickball with the children, made pet rocks, and had fun with other activities, we got the chance to learn more about who the children were and what their lives were like.

Brian* came consistently all summer long. He is a bright, artistic boy with a bit of a temper and over the course of the summer I learned that there is a lot of violence in his house. No one ever seemed to have told him that he was good at anything and I believe that I may have been the first to tell him that he was smart enough to go to college and talented enough to go to art school. Brian’s “tough-guy” attitude had a soft spot, though—his little sister, whom he doted on when she attend our lunch program.

By summer’s end, we had 15 “regulars” and 20 other children who showed up sporadically for our lunch program. The children who attended our lunch program were a blessing from God, who in turn blessed us with their laughter and smiles.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the child involved

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