Grant to Expand Banneker Community Center’s Capacity to Feed Teens and Teach Cooking Skills

(BLOOMINGTON) — Dozens of teen participants in the City of Bloomington Banneker Community Center’s after-school, evening, and summer camp programs will receive nutritious snacks and meals and acquire cooking skills thanks to the support from the Bloomington Parks Foundation and Walmart Giving.

In September 2019, the Banneker served a total of 1,050 meals to 50 youth. The center works with the Bloomington Parks Foundation to acquire fruit, vegetables, dairy products, bread and nonperishable items from the Hoosier Hills Food Bank to serve teen program participants.  The Parks Foundation, which supports Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department programs and facilities, is a Hoosier Hills Food Bank member agency. 

A $3,000 grant awarded by the Walmart Community Foundation last month will allow the Banneker to purchase cooking equipment and food transportation supplies and offer safe food handling training for the teens who use the center.   The resources will allow teen participants to learn how to prepare and cook the food provided by the food bank, while they take part in tutoring, mentoring, field trips, and recreation activities at Banneker. 

According to Banneker program specialist Cory Hawkins, feedback from teen participants indicates a need for a consistent source of hearty and nutritional food. Banneker hosts teens more than 235 days per year for educational and recreation programming.

“Teens who come to Banneker to take part in the Teen Leadership Institute, the monthly Banneker Nights Saturday evening recreation activities, and our teen summer camp need healthy snacks and meals in order to participate fully,” said Hawkins. “Many students don’t have access to regular, nutritious meals. We are proud to partner with the Hoosier Hills Food Bank and the Bloomington Park Foundation for access to food, and are extremely grateful to the Walmart Community Foundation for funding the resources we needed to take food to the next level by teaching students how to prepare it.”

More information about programs for teens, children, and babies and their caregivers at the Banneker Community Center is available at