Feeding hungry children is a cornerstone of our mission at Second Harvest. And our after-school Kids Cafe program is an important way your support helps at-risk children.
Every week during the school year, Second Harvest volunteers and drivers prepare, package, and deliver thousands of hot meals and snacks to children across our 23-parish service area. For many children, it can make an incredible impact.
“Many of these children don’t eat very well at home,” according to Second Harvest Programs and Innovation Manager Tanya O’Reilly. “To be able to provide at least one well-rounded, nutritious meal after school can make all the difference in the world.”
Second Harvest staff and volunteers begin the day in our 8,000 square-foot Community Kitchen preparing meals for Kids Cafe dinners and snacks. Then drivers arrive in the afternoon to deliver the food to dozens of sites such as schools, churches, libraries, and other places where children gather after school.
Madison W. is a parent who works two jobs, and is grateful for the meals her two daughters receive at the Kids Cafe program at the public library in Houma.
“I’m so glad my girls have a safe place to study and eat, and be supervised, while I’m still at work,” she told us. “It also helps so much with our finances. Buying an extra meal for both girls five days a week can get expensive on our limited budget.”
It’s hard to learn on an empty stomach, and many kids can’t focus due to hunger. When children have access to healthy meals every day, they feel better and do better in school. They have what they need to grow, play, and learn.
Your support makes a big difference. The Kids Cafe program takes considerable time, energy, and funds to operate. Second Harvest does receive a small government stipend for every meal served to help defray costs, but it doesn’t cover the total expenses of the program.
“Our donors who support us with financial contributions absolutely help keep this program running,” O’Reilly said. “A thousand thank-you’s to everyone who makes this incredibly vital program possible.”