Kids are everywhere at CRP. Often they’re playing at our playground or hanging out with friends in the Community Center. And many of CRP’s programs, like After-School Club and Summer Camp, focus on children. Parents trust us to take good care of their children, and we take that responsibility seriously.
Many kids at CRP come from food-insecure families, so nutrition is a core component of our programming. We give out snacks and aim to make these as healthy as possible. Sara, one of CRP’s volunteer staff members, describes how we handle food at CRP. “The kids come every day to CRP and we give them a snack. We make the snack healthy. Sometimes we give them fruits, milk, cakes—cakes without any cream or sugar!—and sometimes a sandwich with healthy ingredients in it.”
We encourage participants to think about the food they eat. “We learned at CRP how healthy food makes your body stronger,” recalls Jenan, an 11-year-old participant in one of CRP’s youth programs. “For snacks we eat things like fruit, which are very healthy things to eat.” Sometimes we’re even able to make a hot lunch for children in our programs, and kids often get involved with the cooking. “We have a great chef who prepares chicken with some vegetables, and sometimes we let the kids cook their food,” says Sara. “This past Eid, they made dessert—kleijah, which is an Iraqi desert—and they did it all by themselves.”
Food is expensive, and feeding so many participants on a tight budget is challenging. But at CRP, we make sure to provide nutritious food to every child in our programs. Parents are thrilled when they see their kids eating healthily, because it’s an even bigger challenge for them at home. Most parents can’t afford things like nuts, even though they may have been a staple for them in their home countries.
Meals and snacks also help children learn about protecting the environment. Pollution and littering are major issues in Amman. We use our food program to educate children on the importance of not littering and reusing materials. CRP provides snacks in paper bags, which act as an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic. Sara describes the “competition” between kids to save the most bags, “After they eat the snacks, they have to save the bags, and whoever saves ten, we show him how to properly dispose of the bags. After that we give him a prize.”
At CRP we make sure that children in our programs receive healthy, nutritious food. A big thanks to Rotary International for helping to ensure these kids always have healthy snacks!