By Chris Fish
PALM BAY -- Research conducted by the Center for Hunger and Poverty indicates that children with even mild malnutrition may later have reductions in physical growth and impaired brain function.
It is with this study that the Palm Bay Firefighters Community Benevolent, Inc., hopes to make a difference.
On Saturday, Nov. 16, the organization will host its second annual "Ladder Climb for the Children's Hunger Project."
John Mellace, driver engineer for the Palm Bay Fire Department, said the day will also serve as an opportunity to teach fire safety.
"This gives the kids a chance to see fire engines and all the firefighters with full gear on," he said. "It supports a good cause, and we hope everyone will come out."
The event will raise money through the purchase of gift cards from Winn Dixie, which will then be used by The Children's Hunger Project to purchase food for distribution to local children.
Mr. Mellace said that a fire safety house, which simulates the effects of a fire breaking out in a home, will also be on location.
Palm Bay firefighters will climb a 100-foot aerial ladder truck for each gift card purchased, and they will carry a symbolic bag of food with them, as they climb.
Gift cards can be purchased in $5 increments, from $5 to however much a donor wishes to purchase.
The Children's Hunger Project is a local charity whose mission is to provide school children in Brevard County with weekend food backpacks.
The program is designed to help elementary school students, who are experiencing crucial periods of growth and development.
Children who experience hunger also have high levels of chronic illness, anxiety, depression and behavioral problems, according to a study conducted at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
The Palm Bay Firefighters Community Benevolent, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization designed to provide community support through charitable events and contributions.
The group can be found on Facebook under "Palm Bay Firefighters Community Benevolent."
The "2013 Ladder Climb for The Children's Hunger Project" will be Saturday, Nov. 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Winn Dixie, located at 190 Malabar Road, S.W., in Palm Bay.