The Cafe is Open
School Time Is Meal Time
School is just around the corner and for many children in our area, school doesn’t just mean access to education, it means consistent access to nutrition. One of the many ways the San Antonio Food Bank works to fight hunger is through our Kids Cafe Program.
What is a Kids Cafe?
A Kids Cafe confronts childhood hunger by serving as a direct feeding partnership between an area Food Bank and an after-school program. Kids Cafes are safe, nurturing places where neighborhood children can go after school and receive a hot supper as well as help with homework from caring volunteers or staff members. The San Antonio Food Bank sponsors several Kids Cafe sites, partnering with local after-school programs to bring this effective child nutrition program directly to the children and teens at the youth centers where they recreate.
Why are They Needed?
Each year in the United States, more than 25 million people visit a food bank because of hunger or food insecurity. Nearly 40 percent of emergency food clients are children. In San Antonio, one in four children experience hunger. Many children in low-income neighborhoods or rural communities do not receive well-balanced evening meals, either because their parents work late hours or they simply cannot afford good wholesome food. Children must receive proper nutrition in order to develop properly and perform well in school. Many Kids Cafes are located in central locations so that participating children can walk or bicycle to these sites after school for a hot meal and homework assistance from a caring adult.
Last school year, the San Antonio Food Bank provided more than 5,000 children with more than 65,000 meals through our Kids Cafe program. Children enjoyed the comfort of their after-school site and a hot meal with friends and loving teachers.
One such site, Presa Community Center, has partnered with the San Antonio Food Bank for nearly 13 years as a site for the Kids Café, BackPack Program and the Summer Food Service Program to ensure area children continuosly receive the nutrition they need. Franki Martin, Vice President of Presa Community Center, says, “To see a child’s faces lit up in gratitude is priceless. To know that the Kids Cafe has sparked those winning smiles is a wonderful feeling. Kids should not have to be worried about their next meal. To know that we are here to ease that burden is really important to us.”
As we approach the new school year, children are waiting to ask: what’s for dinner?!
To find a participating Kids Cafe near you, contact (210) 431-8331 or visit http://www.safoodbank.org.