Stroke of genius: Golf tournament benefits RSS summer meals program

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, November 14, 2023

SALISBURY — It was a hole in one for the children.

For the sixth year, the Rowan-Salisbury School’s Summer Meals Program and specifically its Yum Yum Bus, has been the beneficiary of funds from a golf tournament sponsored by the Salisbury Rowan Association of Realtors.

This year’s event was held in September and garnered $3,000 for the summer program, which is operated through the school nutrition department, shared Director Lisa Altmann.

“It’s a federal program, but the community partners really help us to enhance the program,” she said.

The program, which is for every child in the county, is multifaceted, focusing on literacy, student wellness and health.

“With their meals, we try to incorporate books,” said Altmann. “We also have an organization that comes, and they hand out produce. So it’s just a real community effort” making sure that the children have healthy meals, books and fellowship, she added.

“When school ends, that doesn’t mean that food insecurity ends. So this is definitely a great bridge from the end (of school) to the beginning of school,” Altmann said. “We try to start right away, we don’t get much of a break.”

With the mobility of the Yum Yum Bus, children in rural areas of the county can be served. Some successful programs were already being implemented within the city with the housing authorities or the YMCA’s, noted Altmann and children could either get there or were already there. However, in the rural areas, transportation to get to where breakfast and lunch were being offered is an issue.

“So we took it to them,” she said.

At the Nov. 9 check presentation, Melissa Yates, current president of the Salisbury Rowan Association of Realtors, shared that being able to give back to the community “is a great opportunity to support our local educational system through this and other (opportunities) that we do throughout the year.”

Altmann also noted how appreciative they are every year for the donation they receive from the tournament, with all of it going back into the program.

Thanks were also expressed by Yates and Bean for the support of the community as well as tournament sponsors and participants.

To help them learn more about the program and raise awareness, one of the various Yum Yum vehicles is taken to the tournament.

Carla Rose, chief executive officer for the Salisbury Rowan Realtors, said she thought this summer meals program was about “making connections. You can see that just talking to the drivers” of the Yum Yum buses that go into the communities.

It’s Altmann’s favorite part of the year because of the direct access they get to have with the children as they are on the buses with them.

“They are talking to us, or we’re reading to them, or they’re singing. It’s just really a good feeling,” she said.

With the money raised from these golf tournaments, many children are impacted as it was shared that last summer, “we served, on average, 30,000 breakfasts, and we did 68,000 lunches,” said Altmann. “We’re very, very passionate about this program.”

The program helps feed youth in multiple ways. Rose said she looks at the summer program as “feeding their mind, their body and their spirit.”