Lovin’ Spoonfuls has nearly 200 nonprofit partners, including food pantries and meal programs, organizations focused on housing support and shelter, and kid-, senior-, and veteran-serving programs. Food is the common denominator – sometimes as the organization’s sole focus and sometimes as one of many support services a program provides. And food is where we come in, too.
Through our “We’re Lovin’” blog series, we introduce you to our partners and the work we do together to improve access to nutritious food. This time, we speak with Jason Smith, Assistant Executive Director of the Waltham Boys & Girls Club, a safe place where young people can learn and grow.
At the Waltham Boys & Girls Club, we serve our kids a snack and dinner. They also get free breakfast and lunch at school [per Universal School Meals], making for a full day of food! We see firsthand how this food makes a difference for our kids. Whether they’re in their Skills and Drills Academy, our barbershop program, and/or our Latin dance sessions, having the proper nutrition and nourishment to participate in these programs is important.
We are receiving federal funding from our Child and Adult Care Food Porgram (CACFP), but there is also a need for so much food in our community. We are fortunate to have such inspirational partners. Lovin’ Spoonfuls is an additional resource enabling us to provide even more food, which is especially important for our older members. With the love and support from Lovin’ Spoonfuls our members have the opportunity to eat and feel great about themselves throughout their time at the Club.
Our motto at the club is “Be the Best Version of Yourself.” We expect our members to learn, grow, compete, and become a positive productive individual in society, but how can we hold that expectation if food is always a topic of conversation in our member’s households?
The food Lovin’ Spoonfuls provides also helps us teach our members about mental and physical well-being. Here at the Club we promote and model healthy choices, which influence healthy decision and positive outcomes. When our members are eating regularly with valued nutritional resources, they are able to become the best versions of themselves.
Unfair question! It depends on the day. From boxes of cereal and packages of lunch meat to the quality fruits and veggies, the amazing opportunity that Lovin’ Spoonfuls provides is the variety of options that everyone can choose from.
For me though, I always come back to the protein bars Spoonfuls often brings. They’re an alternative to candy bars and help us teach members about good proteins.
Erica, our Executive Director, and I often have conversations about our children. I can say with great certainty that not having enough food for our kids has never been a topic of conversation. But that’s not always the case for the kids who come to the club. We work in an underserved community and it’s our mission, responsibility, and honor to serve our members with food security, meaningful relationships, and amazing programming when they come to the Waltham Boys & Girls Club.