Midwest City day camp provides free meals for kids, safe environment
A group of children got up from a long church pew and formed an orderly line in the dining room. There they were greeted with a smile. Each was handed a sack lunch and a small carton of milk.
At the summer day camp hosted by the Divine Wisdom Worship Center in Midwest City, campers are fed three meals a day.
Pastor Theodis Manning says without these meals, some of the children might have little to eat.
Manning helped found the organization Teaching and Saving Kids, which hosts the camp. The organization started in 2007 with the goal of preventing gang violence by reaching children before they join gangs.
During the school year, the organization works with kids during its “Next Level” after school program. This is the first year the organization has held a summer camp.
The summer camp is for children 3 to 14 and there is no charge. The food is donated by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma through their “Kids Cafe” program. Meals are well-balanced, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Though feeding the kids a square meal is an important part of the camp, Manning's goal is to fuel the children's futures as well.
“We want to provide a safe environment for them and to meet friends that are going to help keep them on the right path,” he said.
The summer is often seen as a prime time for children to find trouble. In the community surrounding Divine Wisdom, many kids are left unsupervised while their parents go to work.
The Teaching and Saving Kids day camp gives children little opportunity to stray from the path of straight and narrow.