TERRE HAUTE —
Several area children who depend on a school lunch for a daily meal will not go hungry this week as they participate in the Spring Break Camp at the Booker T. Washington Community Center.
On Tuesday, about 30 children were treated to lunch with Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett as he participated in the National Mayor’s Day of Recognition by volunteering at two local AmeriCorps sites.
“About 50 percent of the kids here at camp are new to our program,” said Rachel Mullinnix, CASY coordinator for the Out-of-School Club that meets at the community center as an activity of Chances and Services for Youth. “We get to serve them a morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack as well.”
The children will participate in the Healthy Living program to learn about healthy lifestyle choices in exercise and meals, and also do some educational activities.
“This morning we made chia pets, and they measured their soil and seeds to use their math skills,” Mullinnix said.
As Vigo County schools have spring break this week, many of the children at the day camp have parents who work during the day and who would not be home to provide a noon meal. So having the structured activity is important for the youths.
Bennett also volunteered Tuesday morning at the Wabash Valley Mobile Market stop at the Vigo County YMCA, handing out shopping baskets to folks who browsed the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.
“This takes volunteers to pull off a program like this,” Bennett said of the AmeriCorps volunteers, who assist at both the Mobile Market and the Spring Break Camp.
“It’s been an exciting thing,” he said of the Mobile Market, which is a project promoted by the United Way of the Wabash Valley to bring fruits and vegetables into low-income neighborhoods to give access to healthier food choices.
“As bad [of] a physical shape as this county’s residents are in, this helps everybody,” the mayor said. “We have to do everything we can to be healthy. We’ve been promoting the stops they make at places such as public housing, where people don’t expect to see something like this.”
At the YMCA, site director Eleanor Ramseier said she was glad to make an announcement to people inside to come out to visit the market trailer set up near the building’s front entrance.
“A lot of our seniors inside were glad to come out to shop,” she said.
Market customer Marilyn Flack of Terre Haute said she was pleased to see the market open for business at the Y.
“I dropped my grandson off so he could work out, and I saw this and decided to try it,” Flack said. “I’d heard of the market, and I’ve always wanted to come by and see what it is.”
Market manager Norbert Gottschling said the YMCA stop has been a monthly visit, but he thinks it could turn into a weekly or twice-monthly stop.
“Anthony Square is one of our busiest stops,” Gottschling said. “The Vigo County officers have been a good stop, too. We have monthly and weekly stops, and we will soon bump the monthly stops into the weekly schedule.”
That transition will be made this month, with a summer schedule set to start in May.
As for the weekly stops, Gottschling said that the Moore-Langen printing business near Third and Hulman streets has been a high-volume stop for the market.
“They requested that we stop there because of their health initiative,” Gottschling said of the business. “The company buys a lot of fresh fruits and takes it into the break room for their employees. And a lot of the employees come out to buy fruits and vegetables They are our number one customer so far.”
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.