ROCKINGHAM — Students celebrated five weeks of entertainment and enrichment Friday as the Summer Food and Fun program at the Leak Street Education Cultural Center held its closing ceremony.
From June 23-Aug. 1, the program supported by area food banks provided a summer feeding site, nourishing 100-125 kids five days a week. Children received breakfast and lunch and got plenty of exercise outside and at Leak Street’s gym.
Staff and volunteers also presented educational activities to allow students to develop academically and socially during summer vacation.
The closing ceremony provided a lot of entertainment for those attendance with the program’s kids singing, walking the catwalk in a fashion show and presenting several step team and dance routines. Certificates of excellence were handed out to the kids of the camp and volunteers who helped out with the program received certificates of appreciation.
J.C. Watkins, who has long been affiliated with the program, said Leak Street has offered the summer day camp for 18 years.
“We’re trying to get and keep our children healthy,” Watkins said.
Leak Street is now on the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina’s website as an official feeding site, he added.
“We are always looking for people to help out,” Watkins told the crowd. “Just to operate this program costs $50,000 a year that we have to raise. We were $15,000 short on paying bills and expenses, and we had an emergency meeting with the directors to figure out where to get that money. They suggested taking up a collection. We ended up bringing in just over $15,000.”
One of the educational programs provided during the summer is the Woodforest Bank Money Matters youth class, said Jessica Ledbetter, outreach coordinator for the Sandhills branch of the food bank. The class helps students learn ways to save money at an early age and recognize and avoid financial practices that could lead to debt and low credit scores in adulthood.
Each class participant received a guide that includes interactive worksheets, checklist tip sheets and a glossary that explains financial terms covered in the class. They also learned how to calculate tips and sales tax when purchasing items.
The Leak Street Education and Cultural Center also operates the Kids Cafe, providing an afternoon snack and enrichment activities to 50 kids each day after school throughout the year.