School’s out for the summer! It makes me think back to my childhood, when I would count down the days until summertime freedom. I loved attending Vacation Bible School, hanging out by the pool and taking family road trips. I always equated summer with fun, family and relaxation.
Only after joining Cross International did I learn how others fear this time of year. For example, many Haitian children and their parents dread this time of year because they know school closings mean hunger. Without the lunches provided by Christian school ministries, many poor children can go days without food.
That’s why I’m thankful for the Divine Shelter Schools (DSS) and the donors who support its approach to this problem. During the school year, DSS provides children with a daily nutritious meal to help them focus as they study. And thanks to supporters of Cross International, a summer feeding program is available too. Through donor support, DSS provides meals in the summer for students and children in the neighborhoods surrounding their 17 campuses
in the Port-au-Prince area. The program also allows kids to study the Bible and participate in fun summertime activities.
“This is really what the program is about, feeding children who won’t be fed any other way,” says Zach Oles, International Project Officer in Haiti.
Last year, the program produced the greatest results in the program’s history! For the first time, students grew taller and gained weight, for an overall increase in Body Mass Index (BMI).
“Our goal was for children to at least maintain their weight,” says Zach. “The fact that they gained weight is fantastic.”
Since each morning of camp opens with Bible study, children grow in their understanding of God’s Word. And last year, each location gave away three Bibles to the most deserving children in attendance.
“We want to feed the children, but everything we do is also spiritual,” Zach continues.
Kids are also given the opportunity to experience summer the way they should, with fun activities like sports, playing outdoors, arts and crafts and sewing.
Thanks to friends of Cross International, kids don’t have to fear going hungry during the summer. Praise the Lord for His provision!