Key Club awarded Spurs grant to fight child hunger

by Lauren Tsai | co-editor-in-chief

The Johnson Key Club was one of 20 Team Up Challenge semifinalists awarded a grant from the Silver & Black Give Back, formerly Spurs Foundation. The program awards funding and incentives such as tickets and player appearances to classes and clubs throughout San Antonio who are committed to improving their community through service learning projects. The recipients each received $2,500 to fund their projects, which address needs in health and wellness, education, the environment, uniformed services, and arts and culture. The Silver & Black Give Back committee will review the success of each organization’s project in early spring 2011 and will award 5 programs an additional grant of $20,000 to further the impact of their projects.

Johnson’s Key Club will focus on addressing hunger needs of San Antonio children and will be working in collaboration with the San Antonio Food Bank. After volunteering annually at the Food Bank, club members have become familiar with the hunger needs of the San Antonio community, where one in four children goes hungry.

“Volunteering at the Food Bank is very rewarding because you realize how many kids are hungry just in Bexar County alone,” junior and club editor Mackenzie Altizer said. “There’s the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you helped feed them.”

Specifically, they will incorporate three concepts that enhance the Kids Cafe Program and address immediate hunger needs. San Antonio’s 22 Kids Cafes are easily accessible feeding sites to at-risk children, and provide a safe and nurturing environment where they can receive hot meals and assistance. Members will direct their funding towards assembling food boxes to be administered to Kids Cafe self-preparation sites and assembling gallon bag food packs to be distributed to schools where teachers can discreetly slip the food supply into a child’s backpack. Early in 2011, student volunteers will volunteer at a Kids Cafe site to interact with children and provide peer tutoring assistance.

“The grant allows us to go and help the kids, to go to the Kids Cafe to tutor them, to help them to grow as a person and become active in society,” Altizer said. “The grant also funds the food, and so we can help feed even more children with this grant.”

In addition, Key Club members will work with the San Antonio Food Bank to establish a math projection for use of the Spurs Community Garden Square Foot gardening technique. Their research will present logical conclusions that reflect the best potential production yields, increasing efficiency and sustaining an abundant garden, as well as serving to educate the communities on the value and benefits of basic backyard gardening.

The life experiences acquired by this service learning project will expose students to a different face of the San Antonio community.

“It also provides us with the opportunity to learn about other people who aren’t as blessed and encourages us to want to help even more.”

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