Jesus said, in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me,…” and that’s just what they’re doing at The Salvation Army’s Eagle Creek Corps on Indy’s westside. A myriad of special moments is happening there. Hungry children are being fed and given a safe place to play while their parents work. Literacy skills are being sharpened and in some cases awakened for the first time.
A daily average of 30 kids, enrolled in K-12, walk to the center from the bordering neighborhoods for the Summer Food Service Program. Before being served a healthy lunch, the kids can participate in open-gym time from 10am – noon. Community Center Director Andy Amick is encouraged by this year’s attendance. “We started this program because it seemed that families around us were having a tough time affording our traditional summer day camp. Our average attendance is up almost 10 kids this year and I believe it’s due to the quality of the lunches, the open gym time and our friendly staff.”
This welcome atmosphere has also bridged the gap between the children and The Salvation Army’s church programs. Currently 18 kids are enrolled in their Mission Literacy Program which teaches the kids bible stories while sharpening their literacy skills before heading back to school.
At lunchtime, the kids are anxious to eat and many go back for a 2nd plate. Amick finds it especially exciting to be taking the burden off these children’s parents – not having to worry about what their children are eating for lunch while they’re at work.
Not only is the staff involved with caring for the children, but a group of volunteers comes in throughout the week to interact with the kids. These ladies help the kids enjoy arts and crafts as well as allow them time to play with dolls, puzzles and board games. “Seeing the children get excited about being here and knowing that we are not only providing a safe environment, but a healthy meal, makes me feel like we are really meeting the needs of the community,” says Amick.
The program runs through July 29th and volunteers are always needed. You can contact Andy Amick at (317)292-8490 for information on how to get involved in this and other programs at the Eagle Creek Corps.