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Colleton County Arts Council mixes it up with Summer Food Program

Executive Director of the Colleton County Arts Council Kim Bridge and Eartha Cunningham Director of Colleton County Summer Food Program watch as kids learn how to work with clay. Photo by Christie Slocum

For the past two Fridays, the Colleton County Arts Council (CCAC) has been filled with fun and laughter, as children who participate in the Colleton County Summer Food Program were invited to participate in some art classes. It was a partnership that CCAC Executive Director Kim Bridge stumbled upon by accident. Bridge had a summer art class scheduled but due to lack to interest, the class was canceled. She had a young man show up for the class and realized his ride had already left. He offered to walk a few blocks to meet back up with his family who were at a remote site for the summer food program. Bridge refused to let him go alone and went with the youngster to be reunited with his family. After she reached the park, she saw all the children who were there eating lunch and knew this was a group she needed to serve. “My job as Executive Director of the Arts Council is to serve our community with art through children, teenagers, adults, and veterans. I knew this group of children would enjoy taking a class on campus, and I knew I had some grant money to help make it possible,” said Bridge, of the partnership. Bridge quickly searched out the site supervisor of the summer food program, Stella Fishburn. The two knew this would be a great program and decided to go meet with Eartha Cunningham, Director of the Colleton County Summer Food Program.
Cunningham is responsible for getting fresh meals to around 2500 kids per day. Breakfast and lunch is prepared daily at the Colleton County Commercial Kitchen and sent out to over 75 sites for children up to age 18 to come out and enjoy. The summer food program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education. This program tries to help ensure no child in Colleton County goes hungry during the summer while school is out. Cunningham loved the idea Bridge was proposing and wanted to help get the word out.
“I was able to schedule a two week session for this first year. Children were able to enjoy 45 minutes of drawing and painting with instructor Ember Estridge and 45 minutes of pottery with Master Potter Erik Lindstrom. I had funding provided by the expansion grant from the Coastal Community Foundation, and the children provided all the laughter we needed,” said Bridge. Bridge hopes to be able to expand this program next summer so more children can come and participate. CCAC Board President Toni Jackson said, “This is a dream come true, and what we want to be able to do more of.” Children were able to discover new art and local artists. All left with smiles on their faces and a hope to return again in the future.

Christie Slocum (350 Posts)