Lifestyle

Bremerton kids learn the meaning of Semper Fi

Marine Pfc. Jerrad Prescott, left, and Pfc. Jason Mendez, right, watch 5-year-old Zemar Taylor shoot hoops outside the Hickles House at the Emmanuel Apostolic Church in West Bremerton. The Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Marines visited for the church’s Bridge program, which brings local heroes to visit with Bremerton children during a free lunch program. - Lynsi Burton/staff photo
Marine Pfc. Jerrad Prescott, left, and Pfc. Jason Mendez, right, watch 5-year-old Zemar Taylor shoot hoops outside the Hickles House at the Emmanuel Apostolic Church in West Bremerton. The Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Marines visited for the church’s Bridge program, which brings local heroes to visit with Bremerton children during a free lunch program.
— image credit: Lynsi Burton/staff photo

Under the hot sun last week, Marines ate hamburgers and baked beans with 150 young children, helped them open their milk cartons and played defense against 5-year-olds on the basketball court at the Emmanuel Apostolic Church.

The food and fun were part of the church’s Bridge program, the church’s outreach that brings children and community leaders together in an effort to inspire children to do well in school.

“We want to connect children in the community with local heroes and people that are successful,” said Mamie Randle, a member of the Emmanuel Apostolic Church who helped organize the event. She also works for Martha and Mary, a non-profit working with the church to help provide free daily breakfast and lunch, paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to children 18 and under.

Bishop Larry Robertson said the Bridge program and summer feeding sessions help support Bremerton children and instill good social habits.

“It’s good for all of us to get together like a salad bowl,” he said. “Our goal is to be here for these kids.”

Pfc. Jerrad Prescott, one of the many Marines who crowded on the basketball court to shoot hoops with the children, said the well-being of the young ones is one of the major reasons he serves in the military.

“I love little kids,” he said. “How can you look at these little things in the eye and not smile?”

The Emmanuel Apostolic Church and Martha and Mary summer feeding program runs Monday through Friday, from 9 to 10 a.m. for breakfast and noon to 1 p.m. for lunch at the Hickles House, located at 1032 Fifth St. in Bremerton.

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