Happy End of Summer!

With Labor Day weekend already upon us, we’re all starting to feel the summer winding down. We got an email today from our partner and former Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award winner “Food, What?!” in Santa Cruz (CA), with a story about what the end of summer means to them. Supporting work like this is what WhyHunger is all about.

Our friends at FoodWhat write…

Each year, we are introduced to a group of youth that are willing to put in the time, energy and work to change their lives. In the spring program, youth start out by digging into food justice, nutrition and leadership. Throughout the season we watch those seeds sprout into awareness, self-determination and a desire to do something different. This is only the beginning.

Then the summer hits and we are blasted into our intensive programming–6 hours a day, 4 days a week–farming under the hot sun and participating in empowerment workshops, team building activities and food justice action. Core job skills are locked in. We work together to get the job done and to tackle personal struggles and obstacles. In the summer, the youth learn who they really are, where they come from and who they want to be.

This year, we worked through more challenges than most summers. Many of the youth came into the program with long stories for such short lives and they were inspired to do the work needed to reconcile their past with their future.  On the last day of programming, staff Doron and Abby stood with the crew in front of all their friends and family. They spoke to each youth individually about the positive changes and progress they had made throughout the summer. As they went down the line, you could see the pride in the faces of each youth as they were publicly recognized for the work that they did and who they are becoming. This is what FoodWhat is all about.

For more stories like this, sign up to get FoodWhat’s Photo of the Month in your inbox at www.foodwhat.org. You’ll be glad you did.

Siena Chrisman