By Kathy Collins

The United Methodist Church of Sun City Center was recently awarded a $12,000 grant from the Interfaith Council of Sun City Center to help fund the church’s Kidz Klub and Under The Cross Youth Group with food for body and soul. The programs serve underprivileged children who live in Southern Hillsborough County.

The United Methodist Church of Sun City Center began the program about five years ago after seeing a great need in the community. Amanda Bridges with the church said, “After visiting local schools and understanding the demographics, we saw the great need for the children in our neighboring communities to have a safe place to come for comfort, faith and food for body and soul.”

According to Bridges, “A large percentage of students who live in Southern Hillsborough County are deemed economically disadvantaged. Hunger and poor nutrition are ever-present and pose a serious problem for many of our children, youth and families.”

In an effort to help alleviate this problem, the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center started the youth oriented programs. The children and youth programs meet twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays. There is no charge and the programs are open to children from infant to young adult. The purpose of the programs is to teach children and youth that nutritious food, exercise and positive choices are key to a healthy life.

The grant will be used to purchase food for 150 children and youth for one year. The children and youth are given a hot dinner on Wednesday evenings and a hot breakfast on Sunday mornings. A typical dinner will consist of chili and all the usual toppings along with yellow rice, fruit and milk. A typical breakfast may consist of eggs, turkey sausage, breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit and milk.

In addition to the hot and nutritious meals, the children and youth will explore Christian-based educational programs, stories, art, music, trips and guest speakers.

The Interfaith Council of Sun City Center is an organization that provides grants to other organizations in Sun City Center to fund programs, education and welfare for those in need.

The United Methodist Church of Sun City Center is located at 1210 Del Webb Blvd. W. in Sun City Center. For more information on the church’s children and youth programs, visit or call 634-2539.

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