Keeping Up with the City of Evanston’s Summer Meals Program
No Kid Leaves Hungry, a feature story on the City of Evanston’s Summer Meals Program appeared in the 2017 July edition of the Rise & Shine newsletter. Since then, Evanston’s Kenneth Cherry is back at serving the community through the Summer Meals Program. Serving over 200 kids daily, the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center continues to be a model of success for the Summer Meals Program. The City of Evanston sponsors eight different meal sites throughout the city.
“Anyone can come get a meal and have fun.”
Cherry himself has been involved with the city’s work for 22 years, and is very pleased with how the Summer Meals Program has grown there. Cherry attributes this success to one key ingredient – making people feel comfortable. “You’ve got to make the kids feel comfortable,” he says, “I don’t want this to feel like a program for kids in poverty. Anybody can come get a meal and have fun.” It’s clear that this is what makes the program unique and special. Kids can be seen all over the building and its grounds, running, playing, and laughing. Cherry’s face lights up as he sees kids at the center doing relay races in the gym, playing basketball outside, and enjoying their lunches. Kids at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center are getting a lot more than a free meal.
The center has a lot of regulars, including a local grandmother who watches a group of kids from her neighborhood, and brings the whole crew for breakfast and lunch every day. “The feedback is always positive and appreciative,” says Cherry. There are a lot of community members that depend on the center for a healthy meal. Not only is the site open to community members, but various local summer camps bring their kids by every day. “Their favorite day is pizza day,” says Cherry, but he is often surprised at the healthy foods the kids are willing to try and actually like. Hummus and salads were among the foods he sees kids enjoying.
The Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center makes it their mission to serve up healthy meals, a side of fun, and a good dose of love for the community they serve. Cherry and his staff are set up for another summer of free meals for kids 18 and under.
The Fleetwood-Jourdain Center will be open each weekday through August 17th, serving breakfast from 7:00am – 9:00am and lunch from 11:00am-1:00pm.
For information about the City of Evanston’s Summer Meals Program visit the City’s website.