The Browns Women’s Organization partnered with the Children’s Hunger Alliance and celebrated an early Thanksgiving with local children at the Lonnie Burten Recreation Center as part of its after-school program on Monday afternoon.
The BWO members served the children dinner and also worked with them on arts and crafts projects following the meal. The Children’s Hunger Alliance sponsors the after-school meal program at the City of Cleveland’s Lonnie Burten Recreation Center.
“We’re out here with 70 kids from Lonnie Burten and some of the surrounding recreation centers from the city of Cleveland,” said Renee Harvey, vice president of community outreach for the Browns. “We’re partnering with the Children’s Hunger Alliance and they’re an organization that works to ensure all kids are fed nutritious meals. They provide breakfast, lunch and after-school meals.
“We’re here as part of the after-school program. It’s not only a way for our wives to see first-hand what this program’s all about and see the great need in our community, but also, to give thanks for everything that we have as we lead into Thanksgiving.”
Jennifer Shurmur, the wife of coach Pat Shurmur, joined with several other BWO members, including Dru-Ann Childress, Brenda Whipple, Kia Sandusky, Kristen Spytek, Mary Cromwell, Arin Hodges, Gia Young, Jessi Carder, Rachel McCoy, Melanie Weeden and Mariann Cousins, for the event.
“Thanksgiving is a time where we take a moment and count our blessings and recognize how fortunate we are,” Shurmur said. “It’s also a time to recognize people that may not be as fortunate, so we’re happy to be here, have some fun with these kids and just give them an opportunity to have a fun afternoon during the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Shurmur felt the BWO members got back just as much as they gave during the event.
“If I had a hug for every one of the kids here today, they would’ve given me three back,” Shurmur said. “It was just a wonderful afternoon.”
The Children’s Hunger Alliance has a mission to ensure all children are fed regular and nutritious meals and learn healthy habits. They provide food for child-care homes and after-school programs, as well as summer feeding locations where children get regular meals and learn about making healthy food choices in an effort to reduce childhood obesity.
“They not only provide breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks, but they also have this summer school feeding program, which is a great program,” Harvey said. “They’re really trying to find every, single child that’s in need, provide them with free and healthy meals at every time throughout the year. They constantly remind and instill in these kids to make the healthy choices now and their meals meet all the USDA guidelines. We’re very proud to partner with them as well.”
Throughout the season, the members of the BWO serve as ambassadors of the Cleveland Browns and actively reach out to those most in need. The goal is to positively impact the community and fans who embrace the Browns through unique charitable efforts.
“We do about eight total events with our Browns Women’s Organization,” Harvey said. “In addition to the events we do, similar to this one, we also do a gameday with them. We do a program with special-needs kids, so they actually host the families, roll out the red carpet and give them VIP treatment and make them feel really special.”
For more information about the Browns Women’s Organization, contact the Cleveland Browns Community Outreach Department at (440) 891-5042.
To learn more about the Children’s Hunger Alliance, call (614) 341-7700 or 800-227-5446 or visit www.childrenshungeralliance.org.