Bryan students who tutor children at the Rhea Family YMCA are about to turn the “apple for the teacher” idea on its head.
Beginning in November, Bryan students will provide fruit snacks one day a week for children they tutor at the Y, thanks to a fund drive at the college and the cooperation of the Rhea County United Way and Pioneer College Caterers.
Olivia Eanes and Anissa Meberg, who head the college’s Practical Christian Involvement tutoring ministry, said the idea came from an encouragement to seek closer ties with community organizations they serve. For Olivia and Anissa, that meant the YMCA.
“We went to Lamont (Singleton, the YMCA program director) and asked if he needed school supplies, snacks, or anything,” Olivia said. “He suggested nutrition.”
Mr. Singleton explained that “a lot of kids don’t have the opportunity to get fresh fruit in the afternoon. The state has recommended we provide a healthy snack, but right now all we’re able to do is provide Little Debbies. I think this will be good for our kids.”
The Bryan students approached A.J. Caudill, food service director, about buying fruit through Pioneer College Caterers, and he readily agreed, Anissa said. “A.J. said it would cost about $900 to provide fruit for the whole year” for the 50 to 60 children in the tutoring program.
To raise the money, students have begun a change drive, with help from four professors. Drs. Brian Eisenback, Salvatore Musumeci, Ken Turner and Mr. Michael Palmer have agreed to sponsor the drive, with the “winner” agreeing to wear a fruit costume – “probably a banana suit one day,” Olivia said.
In addition, Christine Ralph, director of the Rhea County United Way, has agreed to match the amount students raise on campus.