NORWOOD, Ohio -- On Oct. 25, a Norwood church will kick off a program that aims to provide hot meals and a safe, fun environment to children in their area, appropriately called Super Sunday Scarfdown.
The initiative -- led by Jon Atwood, an assistant pastor -- resulted from conversations between several members of the Cameron Avenue Church of God, many of whom work in the Norwood City School District.
“We have several teachers who attend our church and some people involved in local sports, and we learned that some kids don’t have food when they go home. One day we were talking about it during Bible study, and I thought, ‘Why aren’t we feeding these kids?'
“You see a lot of negative things in the world. There just don’t seem to be as many positive influences," Atwood added. “In this town, some kids don’t have much to eat when they go home. We want them to give them a meal, but also just make them feel cared for.”
Hot Meal Guaranteed
Atwood grew up in Norwood. Feeding hungry children in the neighborhood was a dream originally conceived by Jon’s father, Larry Atwood, who served as pastor from 1976 to 2012, when he passed away from cancer. The program didn’t find success primarily because of a lack of transportation for the kids.
So when Jon decided to pick up where his father left off, he petitioned the church to purchase a bus to pick up children and bring them home.
Kids attending the program can be dropped off or picked up by volunteers in the bus. Once they arrive, they’ll be treated to a hot meal, which will be different every weekend. According to Atwood, this is a key piece of their mission.
“Even though it will be something different every weekend, we want to always do a hot meal,” Atwood said. “Some parents can’t afford that, so we want to give the kids something they may not get all the time.”
After lunch, the group will play games and sing songs with the volunteers.
Respect For All
Atwood says the program will be church-themed, but he wants the primary message to be one of love and respect for others -- something that they hope to show each child who attends.
Ideally, he hopes to have 40 children regularly attending, and if that happens, he has plans to expand the program.
“If the kids are into it, I would like to do it on Wednesdays as well,” he said. “That’s not going to happen right away, but I would love to do it.”
Because they are working with children, all volunteers for the program will require background checks before pitching in. And in order to ride the bus, waivers will have to be signed by a parent.
The activities are intended for ages 5 to 12, but older children are invited. Parents interested in signing their children up for Super Sunday Scarfdown, should call 513-631-2514, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more at the church's website.