The Mission was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from the Evelyn S. and K.E. Barrett Foundation that will support initiatives out of the Mission’s Downeast Campus in Cherryfield. The grant will be shared between two Mission programs, the Backpack program which provides food to children and the EdGE Summer Literacy program.
Mission President John Zavodny shares, “Food security and early literacy programs are both linked to increased success at school. By addressing these supports for learning, the Mission hopes students will be able to excel. We are grateful to the Barrett Foundation for their support of our Backpack and Summer Literacy programs.”
The Backpack program, part of the Mission’s Food Security program, provides food for more than 100 families at five elementary schools in Washington County. The area has one of the highest food insecurity levels in Maine with one in four children labeled as food insecure. The backpacks, which are given out each weekend and before holiday breaks, include child-friendly, non-perishable food. There is enough food for one dinner and two breakfasts, along with snacks. Along with food, there are simple recipes families can make together using easily accessible ingredients.
The literacy program is an integral part of EdGE summer camps which serves more than 250 students in kindergarten through eighth grade at three locations in Washington County. Through the program, children attending summer camps receive books they can keep and age-appropriate literary support during the summer. The camps include group readings and discussions for older kids as well as book-related engagement programs for younger children. The program works to develop campers’ reading abilities and meet learning milestones including building vocabulary, reading compression and proficiency, and recalling information.
About both programs, EdGE Program Director Isaac Marnik says, “This grant will make a tremendous impact on the quality of programming that we are able to offer. Over the years, when we have been able to provide new books to students, it is wonderful to see the excitement and joy that the students have when they received them. This grant will help bring that happiness to the students we work with.