New York, NY
Reaching More Youth Starved for Meaning
Since 2005the Reciprocity Foundation (RF) has been working to support homeless and foster-care youth aged 13-26 in their transformation from impoverished homeless kids to employed persons playing a leadership role in society. In 2011, Reciprocity opened the first Holistic Center for Homeless Youth in the US, which offers counseling, meditation, yoga, retreats, coaching, college admission support, and digital media training. In 2012, because of food shortages at homeless shelters, students were arriving hungry and unable to focus. To address this need, BGR provided Reciprocity with a grant to enable them to start a vegetarian meal program called “Starved for Meaning” to serve the youth a communal meal. Over the past two years, funding from BGR helped Reciprocity expand its kitchen facilities and double the number of meals served from two to four per week; the number of youth coming to the center for food also increased. In a questionnaire, 100% of the youth said their life improved as a result of the meals. They experienced a greater sense of belonging and felt more optimistic about their life. For 2015, Reciprocity’s goals are to increase the capacity of the vegetarian meal program, start an urban farming project, take the food program to the streets, and provide nutritional education.Annually renewable project.