One-third (33%) of the people served by the Food Bank are children under the age of eighteen. Access to healthy, nutritious food is critical to the physical and intellectual growth of young people. Without proper nutrition, children lack the fuel to learn, play and lead healthy lives.
To tackle this problem, the Food Bank has a number of programs in place.
The Food Bank’s Kids Cafe program serves nutritious evening meals to children at risk of hunger. Kids enjoy healthy food to accompany their after-school programs. Food Bank staff provide fun educational activities around health and nutrition topics.
The meals for Kids Cafe are prepared daily by the adults participating in the Food Bank’s Community Kitchen culinary job training program. These students are learning skills to enter careers in the food and restaurant industry
Click here to learn more about Kids Cafe.
Approximately 130 meals are served at our two sites, West End Community Center in Providence and the Boys and Girls Club of East Providence.
A menu calendar is prepared each month so kids can see get a sneak peek at what will be served at each meal. Examples include broccoli and chicken casserole, black bean burgers, and chicken salad on whole wheat wraps.
As one parent expressed about her child’s experience with Kids Cafe:
“You guys are doing a great job. She used to complain about not receiving enough food and sometimes no food at all.”
When school is out, school children miss the meals they would normally receive through the free and reduced price breakfast and lunch programs. This gap affects kids during winter break, summer vacation and even unscheduled snow days.
The Food Bank has developed a Meals4Kids box which provides one week’s worth of non-perishable food for school-aged children. The boxes contain items like cereal, soup, snack bars and tuna with crackers.
The food is distributed through community organizations, food pantries and health centers. As Maureen Sherman, nurse at the Chafee Health Center, part of the Providence Community Health Centers network explained:
“Families are so appreciative to receive this food, and it opens the dialogue related to childhood hunger. We hope we will continue providing such a valuable asset for our children and families.”
Meals4Kids boxes are funded in part by Stop & Shop’s Our Family Foundation.