A child’s chance for a bright future begins with getting enough food to eat today. Unfortunately, there are many children in our very own community that do not know where they will get their next meal. For these children facing hunger, getting the energy they need to learn and grow can be a daily challenge.
At Stepping Stones Foundation the goal of the Hunger Force program is to get nourishing food – from community gardens, local food pantries, manufacturers, and retailers – to people in need. At the same time, we also seek to help the people we serve to build a path to a brighter, food-secure future.
For kids who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, school breakfast or lunch may be the only meals they can count on. We supplement those meals by supplying snacks, lunches or funding lunch accounts.
So what happens when kids are not in school? Our program has worked to make sure that children have access to nutritious and easy-to-make meals for after school, weekends and summer. We provide weekly Referrals to our partners Community Table and Westwind Church Community Garden and the MetChurch Food Pantry for meals, groceries, and fresh produce. These are often delivered straight to the clients home.
In a crisis, we provide groceries or gift cards for meals. We also love to treat our clients with special meals during the Holidays. Having convenient, consistent access to healthy foods helps ensure that children never have to worry about their next meal, which in turn makes for happier, healthier kids.
perseverance: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition: steadfastness
Project Perseverance is Stepping Stones Foundations’ largest outreach program for youth in crisis. Our goal is to provide basic human necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing all the while helping to fulfill emotional needs such as significance, connection, and self-worth. Through our programming and support, these youth will gain confidence and learn the tools to become a self-sufficient, productive, healthy adult.
Stepping Stones works directly with intervention specialists in the surrounding schools who identify the most at-risk students who are in the “most desperate” of situations, such as homeless or “couch jumpers“ as well as those that do not have daily food, proper clothing, weather appropriate shoes, medical care, etc. As soon as Stepping Stones Foundation becomes involved, we begin to triage the situation and determine their most critical needs. Once the urgent needs are met, we are then jointly able to design a strategy to successfully transition the child to an independent, healthy lifestyle and significantly reduce their potential for recidivating back into a state of homelessness. Stepping Stones Foundation provides a myriad of supplies and services to assist the child to persist through their current situation and move forward so that they may THRIVE!
These are some of the items or services provided by Project Perseverance:
- Case Management
- Weather Appropriate Clothing
- Shoes, Socks, Underwear, Bras
- Toiletry Items and Feminine Hygiene Products
- Doctor Visits
- Dental Care
- Psychological Assessments and Mental Health Services
- Car Repairs, Gas, Transportation, and Drivers Ed Programs
- Rent, Utility Bills, and Extended Stay Hotel Bills
- Phones, Laptops, School Supplies, Books, and School Field Trips
- GED or Trade School Programs
- Mattresses, Bedding, and Towels
- Laundromat Services
- Temporary or Permanent Home Placement
Oasis: a pleasant or peaceful area or period in the midst of a difficult, troubled, or hectic place or situation
Youth homelessness robs each child of hope and our communities of the potential talent and energy of these young people – but Stepping Stones Foundation is committed to providing a place of shelter and support for every homeless and at-risk kid who we meet. Every child’s experience and life is unique. That’s why our staff works with each client individually to develop a plan that is tailored to their specific needs and goals.
How it works: Whether the need is a personal space makeover or an entire home makeover, Project Oasis allows us to transform a child/families space so that they feel safe and secure. This builds confidence and hope. We have individuals or groups sponsor a room and provide all the items that would make the child feel comfortable from beds and bedding to decorative items. When the child does not have to worry where they will lay their head at night, they are able to focus on school and other areas of their life.
Project Work For It provides jobs for at risk teens giving them an opportunity to learn a trade, improve self-esteem, mentorship and to gain a proper work ethic while earning money to support themselves.
Students often work for local businesses closely connected to our board members including but not limited to: Landscaped Systems Keller, Simply Black and White Photography, Sweet Memories Cakes and Catering, Devivo Brothers, and The Queen’s Table.
This project encourages self-discipline, teaches financial and professional responsibility, as well as skill building and self-confidence. The success of this project is measured by the overall attitude, proficiency, and reliability of the student during the job and mentoring sessions. A paying job positively impacts an ‘at risk’ child by providing many skills that are necessary to take steps toward a more successful future.