Starting Conversations and Bringing Families Together through Michelle Obama’s Pass the Love campaign in Fresno
Through multiple programs, including education, mentorship and counseling services, the Fresno Police Chaplaincy has been partnering with law enforcement since 1981 to offer hope and healing to the Fresno, California community.
One of the Chaplaincy’s signature programs, Project STEALTH (Stop Teen Exploitation and Liberate through Hope), intervenes in teen runaway situations by meeting with family members to set an immediate action plan and by engaging in one-on-one and group mentoring with at-risk youth.
Earlier this year, Project STEALTH had the opportunity to participate in PHA’s Pass the Love meal kit program with First Lady and Honorary PHA Chair, Michelle Obama. Working with PHA’s local on the ground partner in Fresno, the Central California Food Bank, Project STEALTH distributed meal kits to families in their program.
Not only did the program provide healthy meals to families, it opened up tough conversations among family members and became an opportunity for critical relationship building.
“The teens who are involved in our program here at the Chaplaincy through Project STEALTH come from fractured home environments and through this campaign we were able to offer meals, and help families start talking and sharing experiences that bring families together,” said Domico Curry, Parent Liaison for STEALTH, and longtime community advocate, educator, and counselor.
Most of the youth Project STEALTH works with either reside with one parent, a grandparent, or with caregivers who work multiple jobs limiting opportunities for kids to experience home cooked meals. “Our families are familiar with commercial meal kits like Hello Fresh but these meal kits are usually too expensive for families,” explained Domico. “Pass the Love meal kits provided our families with a fun and creative experience that they typically are unable to share due to cost.”
The Pass the Love meal kits became such an integral part of Project STEALTH’s interaction with families that when COVID-19 impacted some of their families, Domico and his team loaded up their cars and hand delivered the kits to the families’ homes, creating an additional positive interaction.
Food has the power to create community, build health, cultivate wellness, and strengthen relationships, and organizations like the Fresno Police Chaplaincy are leveraging that power through Pass the Love.