Popsicles. A trip to the park. Playtime without worry.
For many kids, those are the hallmarks of summer.
But what about the children for whom this is not a reality? They don’t call it the dog days of summer for nothing; daytime can be long – and lonely – especially for kids who don’t have access to recreational facilities or the resources to consume a midday meal that is as enjoyable as it is nutritious.
Detroit’s Meet Up & Eat Up program gives these children something to look forward to.
This summer, the Detroit Lions and Ford Motor Company are bringing awareness to Meet Up & Eat Up. The program addresses food insecurity and hunger in Detroit. Several community organizations are doing their part to support the Meet Up & Eat Up program, including United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Detroit Eastern Market, Gleaners Community Food Bank, Fair Food Network, Playworks Detroit, and Wayne State University School of Medicine.
But this initiative isn’t just about food – it’s about health in general. Detroit Lions players and alumni – along with Roary, the Lions mascot – will be present at eight Detroit sites to help lead recreational activities. More than exercise, the games that these players teach emphasize life skills such as sharing, teamwork, and the importance of demonstrating respect. The activities also encourage children to be competitive while putting their best foot forward.
My husband Scott has attended three of these sessions – and will be attending his fourth today. (He's #76 in the photo above; #57 is former Detroit Lion Tim Walton.) He sees firsthand how beneficial a program like this is, and he will tell you that it’s a safe, comfortable, and positive summertime outlet for kids.
Here’s Scott’s take – in his own words: “This program helps subsidize families who are pretty strapped and are often unable to put three full meals on the table. This lunchtime program bridges the gap between breakfast and dinner – and we all know the importance of consuming three full meals a day.”
If you’d like to get involved or pledge your support for the Meet Up & Eat Up program, you may contact Playworks Detroit here, or the United Way of Southeastern Michigan here.