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After-School Meals for OrchKids is Music to Their Ears, Food for the Soul

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 General News J E 4
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BALTIMORE, Jan. 12 To help increase awareness of the availability of after-school feeding programs, a pilot program will jumpstart the OrchKids, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's (BSO) music program, with 60 days of complimentary meals. Many after-school programs to enrich needy children remain unaware of the availability of federal funding to provide nutritious meals at no cost to the organizations.

OrchKids is a year-round after-school program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. OrchKids is a cornerstone of the BSO's efforts to expand the Orchestra's relevance within the City's broad and diverse community. In collaboration with several community partners, which includes the Baltimore City Public Schools, OrchKids provides music education, instruments and mentorship at no cost to Baltimore's neediest youngsters.

For the current 2009-2010 school year, OrchKids reaches more than 150 pre-K through second grade students at Lockerman Bundy Elementary School in West Baltimore. Tony Geraci, Baltimore City Public Schools' Food and Nutrition Director, worked with the BSO to set up a plan to offer a more nutritious and substantial meal for the OrchKids each day.

"After submitting our application for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Mr. Geraci introduced us to Gary Davis, CEO of East Side Entrees, who offered to provide 60 days worth of meals on a complimentary basis to jumpstart the reimbursement plan for the federal funding," explains Hillary Hahn, OrchKids Administrative Director. This new supper program will provide every child who attends the after-school portion of OrchKids a healthy, well-balanced meal. "The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and OrchKids are truly grateful for the generosity and vision of these two gentlemen and are excited to be a part of this pilot project," adds Hahn.

"We support after-school enrichment programs and we are motivated because there are so many eligible children that stand to benefit," says Davis of his company's commitment to the project. "The OrchKids program provides a tremendous benefit for aspiring young musicians. The fact is that millions of children nationwide are eligible for, but not receiving, federally funded nutrition programs. By synergizing our efforts we can get the word out and help make it possible for other organizations to take advantage of federal enrichment programs and thus improve children's lives educationally, culturally and nutritionally."

Students receive classroom music instruction during the school day twice weekly and in after-school sessions four days a week from 3:30-6:00 p.m. A typical after-school session begins with a nutritious meal and includes classroom music instruction, group instrument lessons and tutoring assistance. OrchKids frequently have the opportunity to take field trips to local organizations and attend Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts.

"The Baltimore City Public Schools will also be starting a city-wide supper program for other schools this spring and the meals will be served by our City Kids that are enrolled in our Culinary Training program through CTE Baltimore City Schools, "says Geraci.

To learn more about the OrchKids program, visit the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's website at www.BSOmusic.org.

East Side Entrees, located in Woodbury, NY, is a leading supplier of nutritious food products to America's school children. Visit www.eastsideentrees.com for more information.

SOURCE Vista Communications
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