WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A new summer meal program to help families in need has popped up in Luzerne County. The meals are prepared and distributed by children, for children.
This meal program was the idea of a boy within the juvenile court system now a handful of children and teens are doing their community service picking up new cooking skills while helping their neighbors.
Seasoned, cooked to perfection, and packed up for others.
“You never know what’s going on in somebody’s life you never know how much they need or don’t need the meal,” said John Prater.
A meal prepared by youth doing community service through the Luzerne County Juvenile Wellness Court.
The teens cook the meals at the catholic youth center in Wilkes Barre, an idea that started with one of the teens.
“Boy named Sean, kind of said ‘why don’t we provide meals for families in need kids in need rather than just the general community” explained Joe Kloss, project director in Luzerne Wyoming Counties System of Care.
The food program “For Kids By Kids” has changed the lives of many children and teens for the better like John Prater who loves to cook.
“It’s given me a lot more experience with cooking. I went to culinary school during the school year, I am probably going to go next year, I really like cooking and I want to get all the experience I can,” stated Prater.
Fox Barba says this volunteer work has not only opened his eyes to those facing food insecurity.
“It helped me acknowledge that a lot of people don’t have enough money to buy meals.”
It’s also inspired him to give back even more.
“This actually helps them a lot and I might start volunteering in other places to help more people,” explained Barba.
“All these kids that are involved are touched by the mental health system so were are building skills and giving back to the community,” stated Kloss.
Once packed the meals are distributed to families outside of Kistler Elementary School.
“I just like to think that I am helping out somebody every time that I am handing them one of the meals,” said Prater.
The smiles on their faces prove they are on the right track.
“To know that they are doing something productive, they are gaining skills, and they are feeling good about themselves and they are proud about what they’re doing and we are proud about what they’re doing,” explained Koss.
The for Kids by Kids Program also partners with the United Eay and Judge Rodgers wellness court. 150 meals are distributed each week.