Custer Road completed its 8th year of its Summer Lunch Program August 9 and served over 9000 meals to children and adults over the 10 week program.
Thank you so much for the support of our congregation, Sunday school classes, YMSL Chapters, Kroger and Nestle Water. Their support took multiple forms. Every day we had 6-8 volunteers join us at the park helping load and unload, serve lunches, and playing with the kids. We had V8 juice, water, cookies and chips donated. Nestle Water donated 7000 bottles of water, Kroger donated hot dogs/hot dog buns and large chip bags were collected at VBS. We were able to use these for 4th of July food packs that were passed out on July 3. 1500 weekend food bags were given out on Fridays, we served 75 pizzas the last day, passed out 235 school supply back packs and had over 400 volunteer slots filled.
Given the success and strength of the program we look forward to serving in the future. Custer Road’s unwavering support has made this such an effective program and has given it the momentum to continue to grow and increase its engagement with the community.
This year we were so lucky to have the return of our 2018 coordinator, Elizabeth Greer. Her return played a crucial role in building trust with the kids and parents, and fostering a true sense of community. Duncan McCollum returned as the SLP Assistant, but due to a heavy study/work load, he had to resign early in the summer. Clark Stroup stepped in right away and was an absolute rock star! Both Elizabeth and Clark worked tirelessly every day to load the trailer and coolers, oversee volunteers at the park, fellowship and play with the kids at the park, spread the love of Jesus and unload everything at the end of the day.
From our SLP Coordinator Elizabeth Greer:
Thank you to Stephanie Mills for overall administrative help and being a great mentor! To Cristen Graf for our Grant Administration-we receive a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture that covers the cost of the child lunches. Cristen applies for the grant, submits reimbursement claims and orders the lunches each week, as well as coordinating the school supply drive and backpacks we pass out the last day. Clark Stroup was a tremendous help and stepped up to serve this summer! To the Young Men’s Service League’s Wildcat and Legacy Chapters who are fantastic volunteers and always ready to do whatever needed to be done! To the Plano Police Department-Officers Laura, Stephanie & Tedd who made the rounds, played with the kids, passed out stickers and were a great presence at the park. To the Sunday school classes and individuals who donated V8 Juice! To Top Achievers, Lawrence & Anteus Mann, who were great mentors to the youth and children at the park.
I make it a priority to make friends at the park. There are a lot of families that don’t want hand outs and they wonder if they need to sign a voucher. I try my best not to make it “a thing”. I want them to feel welcome and to know that I am their friend. I know 150-200 by their first name and that is important to each person..they are important to me! The people that come to the park love the friendship and fellowship. I believe that I don’t need to preach the Bible, that they SEE the Bible out at the park with the love that is shared with them. We are so blessed to have this program lifted up by a church. Most lunch food programs do not have this amazing success and that is why this program thrives. The North Texas Food Bank, Texas Hunger Initiative and McKinney Coalition are all wondering how/why we have such a great program. I say it is because we come with faith and love. It is bittersweet that the program has come to an end for the summer. I cried on my way back to the church on Friday because I didn’t get to say my proper goodbyes as we were a bit short handed the last day. I plan to stay in contact with many of the families so that it’s not an entire year before I see them again! Thank you Custer Road UMC and God for giving me this role in your great plan!
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