Wylam Library and Community Join Together to Provide Snacks to Afterschool Kids

children eating snacks at the library
Since February 2012, the Wylam Branch Library has been providing afterschool snacks for kids in the Wylam community. Collaboratively, the staff did some brainstorming and came up with an afterschool snack project called Vittles for Vitality. This project is a new initiative that came about as a result of school-aged children visiting our library in the afternoons and stating that they were hungry. We did some research and found that many of our children have lunch as early as 11:00 a.m., and by school’s end they could use some additional nourishment. Vittles for Vitality was inspired by one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quotes, “The first wealth is health.” This quote illustrates the basic needs for our children to eat right and stay fit so that they possess exuberant physical strength and mental vigor to succeed in life. We then immediately thought of ways in which we could branch out and make this a concerted effort in the Wylam Community.

We decided that we would inform our patrons of what we were doing and leave the option to help out there. Their responses have been great. We have received an abundance of assistance from individuals as well as businesses and their efforts have been overwhelming. We have taken in an assortment of individual snacks that include oranges and apples, pineapple juices, Chex Mix and trail mixes, fruit cups and fruit juices, and other food items. Our children and their bellies seem to really enjoy these snacks. Vittles for Vitality was created to take place only during the academic school year during afterschool hours. We are proud of our children and we hope that these snacks will not only continue to bring them into the library but provide them with the tools necessary to succeed.

Wylam fully believes in the Birmingham Public Library’s mission which is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. We think that this program has great potential and that in addition to supplemental instruction we will be able to provide our kids with literacy, nourishment, and encouragement.

Alisha Johnson
Wylam Branch Library