The after-school HYPE program continues to serve its participants with essential meals in light of the move from school to home during the coronavirus pandemic.
HYPE, which stands for “Helping Youth Pursue Excellence”, sees 40 to 50 children every day. While regular MH Newton Family Living Center programming is on hold, a hot lunch and an “after school” snack are still being prepared for the kids to pick up and take home.
Barney Gadson, head of the program, said they typically serve K-8 children, but now also feed the older siblings and families of participants.
“They get breakfast and lunch from the school district; that’s what they normally would have had if the school had been in session,” Gadson said. “A lot of parents depended on this meal. It would be a lot harder. They might not be working, the kids are at home all day and resources have been reduced.”
Parents of program participants should simply call before 10:30 a.m. each day to let the Gadson team know how many meals they need. He said all the parents of the children are familiar with the process and have called.
“Over time, it will get even more difficult” for families, said Gadson.
HYPE follows the school district’s meal distribution plan based on the days they distribute meals and follows next week’s spring break with the district closing for the week, but they will resume the following week.
“As long as we can and there is a need,” he said, “we will continue to do so”.