News 8 found some huddling up at Washington Park to give out free meals to students who are used to getting free meals during the school year, but might not get all of the meals they need when school is out.
“I just like seeing the smiles on their faces,” said Andy Cruz, a member of the team.
The team is volunteering at several locations throughout Meriden to lend a helping hand to a non-profit called Change The Play, Inc.
“In school, they get breakfast and lunch free,” said Jason Teal, founder of Change of the Play, Inc. “So when school’s gone, they don’t get those free meals. So we’re just here to give them some nourishment throughout the summer.”
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“Oh, the demand is great,” Teal said. “The players are a big help.”
They volunteer for several hours a day each weekday at five different locations throughout town. Teal said last year, they gave out 9,000 free meals. This summer, they could hit as many as 60,000. Parents, who are finding it tough to make ends meet these days, are very appreciative.
“I think it’s a great program when the kids are out of school. It helps me save money,” said Vanessa, a mother of several children.
“It helps a lot,” said Nicole Johnson, another parent. “Mothers like me — I have 4 kids. I appreciate it.”
Hearing parents say thank you and express how much this is helping their families makes the Maloney players feel like MVPs.
“It feels good to give back to the community,” one player said.