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Teenage boys eat a lot of food! Here at the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH), food has always been a major part of how we provide security and teach the boys. Given we serve over 21,900 meals a year, our food program is a critical part of what we do. Being in the kitchen together, cooking for each other, serving one another, is part of the activity of any other family. For our staff, it represents a great time to instruct and teach life skills to our young men while providing a sense of home.
Our food program is a key ingredient in their physical well-being and a part of giving them a sense of home. Let’s do the math…
$3.52 a meal X 20 young men X 3 meals X 365 days = $77,000 a year—Quite a grocery bill!
While that’s about how much it will cost to feed the young men this year at the PAYH—that is not all we feed them. We feed them knowledge and give them experience. We show them a home. Like other homes, the kitchen is the communal room, where spontaneous conversations begin, sneaking a taste of something before it’s been served, and laughter takes place. Home, family, and life…we do this all together, often in the kitchen.
It is here, often in the kitchen, our young men gain a new perspective. Most of them have never really thought about the cost of food nor have they thought much of who prepared it. They have certainly never thought of how much time it takes to prepare a meal.
As part of the PAYH Food Program, young men plant all sorts of fruits and vegetables in our garden, harvest eggs from the chickens that are fed with the left-overs we take out of the kitchen. It is our young men who are responsible for maintaining the gardens and the chickens, ensuring that both the plants and animals stay alive. The boys plan the meals, help create a budget to purchase needed items and then prepare the food for themselves, the other young men, and the staff. They learn to serve their second family, express gratitude, and manners. All of which are tools they can pass on in their own family one day. They begin to value work and time that goes into cooking. They also experience the importance of eating as a family—Talking, sharing the ups and downs about the day.
They…we, are doing life together.
Transforming lives spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally and socially.
Our goal is to raise $77,000 for our 2015 Food Program. Your support is critical for the PAYH Food Program to succeed. Please help us continue to engage our young men teaching them life skills and appreciation for what has been given to them. Click here to help us take the classroom to the kitchen.
Yours In Christ,
Drew S. Read