There was a firetruck, DJ, and the parish library’s ubiquitous bookmobile on hand for the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center’s kickoff celebration of the center’s inaugural summer feeding program.
The fire truck delighted the children as they sat in the driver’s seat and blasted the siren. The bookmobile had educational activities, books and some most welcome air-conditioning. Volunteers cooked and served hamburgers and hotdogs for the children as they took a break from the games and fun. There are seven Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members working for the Center. These dynamic young people hail from Louisiana as well as several other states and are an integral part of the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center’s efforts.
The summer feeding program will serve breakfast and lunch to approximately 100 youngsters. The meals are served at the Ben D. Johnson Auditorium on Martin Luther King Street. Breakfast will run from 9:00 am to 10:00 am and lunch will run from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. There is no application process, the only requirement is that the person receiving the meal be under 18 years of age. In addition to the meals, the children will receive a backpack full of food each Friday to see them through the weekend. The meal program will start Monday, June 28 and run through the end of July.
The Natchitoches Parish Journal would like to commend the volunteers and staff of the Ben D. Johnson Center for starting this feeding program. It is a sad fact that all too often the best, and sometimes only meals some children receive are at school. This program will help fill the gap when school is out. We would also like to commend the VISTA volunteers serving our community. We have been uniformly impressed with their dedication and energy. Their love and care for the children the Center serves is quite evident and a joy to see. The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes them all the best as they fulfill their term of service and go on to the next phase of their lives.