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Kids get active at expanded summer feeding program

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) - A summer feeding program in Duncan has expanded this summer, and it's also getting kids active. It's located at Douglass Park, and called "Camp Douglass." It’s part of the Spokes for Hope summer feeding program, where kids get a hot lunch at local churches.

But this new late afternoon meal has a little more action. At the park, the kids get sandwiches and snacks before running off to play games, do crafts, or jam to music with the volunteers. Leaders say this event has added another 30 to 40 kids they feed every day.

Members of the community group Men in Black noticed a gap in the summer feeding program in Duncan. The kids get lunch, but they might not always get dinner. So they approached the Spokes for Hope group, and ran with the idea. They decided to build on that, and host an all afternoon event so that the kids can be kids.

"We had sandwiches," said Makynna Skinner.

"I ate fruit," Makiyah Skinner.

Makynna and Makiyah Skinner, like the group of kids out at Douglass Park today, came out for the food, and then the fun that happens afterwards.

Shamear Newberry, a member of the Men in Black group, says they wanted to host an event the children can count on. So Camp Douglass is four days a week at the same time every week.

"They just love to come and have fun,” said Newberry. “They don't have to just sit around and eat, sometimes they don't even have to eat. If they don't want to eat, they don't have to. They can just come and play, and have fun."

Darryl Stevenson, President of the Men in Black community group, says for some of the kids, this is the best part of the day.

"Some of them get here at three o'clock, and stay in here all until six," said Stevenson.

The group sets out to make every day different for the kids. They invite volunteer groups like these employees from the Walmart Jewelry Repair and Assembly center in Marlow, to set up fun activities and games.

Newberry says they also wanted to give the parents a hand this summer in giving their kids something fun to do.

"Let them have something to do instead of having to go and spend money on water parks,” said Newberry. “They can just come out and have a good time for free."

Julio Alvarez, with Spokes for Hope, says he hopes the program grows, because the main goal is to grow the number of kids they feed every day.

"It's unfortunate that kids go hungry across our country every day,” said Alvarez “But I think if you take them out of the atmosphere and that mindset, and just remind them that they are kids. Just let them be kids, and let them have fun."

Stevenson and Newberry say that every day they have this event, they have something totally different going on. Some churches or volunteer’s groups bring bouncy houses one day, and they grill out hotdogs and hamburgers the next. Because of the increased interest in the camp through the summer, they hope they can carry that interest into next summer to help serve more kids.

This event is open to everyone at Douglass Park in Duncan Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the meals passed out at 4:30. They will have it until school is back in session next month.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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