Nonprofit builds community in St. Cloud by feeding students

Published 10:07 am Monday, August 8, 2016

ST. CLOUD — Sizzling summer temperatures and stifling humidity would have most kids seeking sanctuary inside an air conditioned room.

That’s where you would have found Jacob and Puoch Weidnaar. With a PlayStation 4 controller in one hand and pizza rolls and macaroni and cheese within arm’s reach, it would have been very hard to convince these teenagers — or most kids their age — that a world existed outside their bedroom walls.

But most weekdays during the summer, the Weidnaar boys have abandoned their PlayStation controllers. They have exchanged them for time outside shooting hoops and hanging out with friends.

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It’s a pleasant side effect from a program started by feeding hungry kids.

The Yes Network is nonprofit organization designed to feed students in low-income neighborhoods. Started by Jerry Sparby in 2011, the program has expanded its mission to get kids like the Weidnaars outside and playing with their peers.

So far, he has been quite successful.