Another Successful Summer BreakSpot...
UMCM Suncoast (UMCM) has just concluded a successful session of Summer BreakSpot! BreakSpot is a summer meal and activity program for children that, like Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids, aims to fill a gap when kids aren’t receiving free or reduced-cost meals at school. UMCM hosted three BreakSpot sites in St. Petersburg this summer one each at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, the UMCM Center for Early Learning @ St. Mark’s and Wyngate Apartments. The program ran from June 11 to July 26.
The site with the highest attendance was the activity center at Wyngate Apartments; confirming UMCM’s assumptions that this type of site may be more attractive and accessible to families due to its close proximity to the home. In collaboration with Pinellas County Schools, across the three sites 50 children were served over 305 meals!
Kids participated in crafts, games, science experiments, and more, and fostered existing friendships as well as forming new ones. Weekly themes included Character Week, Animal Week, Minute to Win It, and Let’s Get Mov-ical! (focused on physical activity and music).
In addition to UMCM staff and mission fellows, BreakSpot had support from great, caring volunteers. Here is a reflection from Sydney Miller, who served at the Summer BreakSpot site at Wyngate Apartments. Sydney is a teacher at Palm Harbor University High School:
“When my friend encouraged me to volunteer for Summer BreakSpot, I had never heard of the program so I had few expectations. As an educator, I was shocked I hadn’t heard that there was such a cool program for kids over the summer. Then, as I saw the time and heart that went into planning and leading Summer BreakSpot, I was more amazed. Summer BreakSpot is so much more than providing a meal. Yes, I think it is so cool to provide for a physical need, but the time spent on the relationships was an even deeper investment. These students could come and be in a safe environment with peers and adults where they were provided with space to create and laugh and dance and learn. I really do think this became what some of the kids most looked forward to during the day. One young boy was there just about every day and would peek in and smile as he first came in. It was like he was happily anticipating the day’s activities and people. So even with moments that felt like a struggle trying to solve conflicts, the potential for a kid to feel valued and welcomed and excited made it worth it. And I would gratefully volunteer again for the opportunity to get to know more of our youth and to see their emotions and minds and bodies fed in a healthy way.”
Thanks to Pinellas County Schools and the USDA for making summer meal sites possible across the county and the nation. In particular, we extend gratitude to Publix Super Markets Charities, whose grant made UMCM Suncoast’s meal and activity sites possible this summer!
“Let’s Get Mov-ical!” - Making windchimes Lunchtime at Summer BreakSpot