SPARK, launched during the summer of 2017 is a combination of the Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyles programs. It provides opportunities for low-income youth and seniors to become more physically and mentally active as well as supports the provision of healthy foods. The SPARK learn and do program combines a variety of stimulating physical and mental activities, a healthy eating education piece and a food access program. The food access program for the seniors features a hot lunch provided at our two pilot senior locations, Cambridge Square Apartments and Southside Baptist Church in South Norfolk. The meals are provided by Senior Services of Southeast Virginia four days-per-week for program participants. Fitness, Art-of-the Healthy Brain, sewing and other classes are provided free of charge to the program participants.
The youth food program operates during the summer with meals provided by Chesapeake School Nutrition summer feeding program. We support a student employment program, where students are trained by Opportunity Inc., and placed in our service sites as program assistants. This was the second year of this program, with two students and a program coordinator placed at the feeding site for Harbour North and Rivers Apartment Complex youth. Two students were also placed at the South Norfolk Boys and Girls program to assist with the feeding and activities for approximately 145 youth.
SPARK activity boxes were also distributed to six other summer feeding sites. The boxes provided fitness and art resources and a program guide for the feeding site coordinators to use during their daily feeding with the youth from their communities. Over 400 youth were served by this program during the summer of 2018.