My name’s Marquesa and I’m the VISTA site supervisor for Paramount School Park. When I got accepted to be apart of summer meals, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew that we would be serving food and making some sort of impact within the community but what I didn’t realize is how big of an impact we would be making. Being at Paramount Park for the last five weeks has changed my view on food insecurity and the impact that summer meals can make. Serving a summer meal can change the outlook of someone’s day by giving them the food they need but it is often much more than that.
At Paramount, there is one kid that has started to come every single day. We have gotten to know him and now he loves to help us set up and promote summer meals throughout the park. For this kid, summer meals is now his everyday routine of coming and getting food. But at our site it is much more– it is interacting with two college-aged students, getting a free book from the library, playing soccer, getting his face painted, seeing the Reptile Man, listening to live music and skating with his new found friends. It is his community where he can come and feel as if he matters and has a place to thrive for the summer. This is true not only for this particular kid but also for the many families that come to Paramount Park and all other meal sights through Hunger Intervention Program.
My perspective has changed because I have seen many organizations and people going above and beyond to build a better community each and every day. I know that going to Paramount throughout the summer, I have the opportunity to tell families that haven’t heard of summer meals a place to get free food for the summer but also an invitation to be a part of something bigger. I am looking forward to what will come throughout the rest of the summer.