Kids Cafe continues to provide healthy meals after school
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
An after school meal program that started 12 years ago has grown from serving meals at one site to three and now serves more than 200 students every weekday.
Kids Cafe is making a difference in the lives of many youths in the Cedar Valley and it's all thanks to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and the many donations it receives.
"One of the biggest challenges is we get kids who are going off to school each day and that might be their only meal they're receiving is that lunch," said Ben Carlson, of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.
The Waterloo Boys and Girls Club is just one of three locations where the Kids Cafe takes place. The meals are served at 5:30 so that the kids can get healthy evening snack.
"I can't even say into words how impressed I am with the program, how awesome the program is. The fact that we can feed so many kids because of the Kids Cafe program is really something that goes unnoticed a lot of time," said Chuck Rowe, CEO of the Waterloo Boys and Girls Club.
Along with the meal comes an education in healthy foods. It's something students can take with them.
"They'll always try to bring a meal the kids will enjoy. Once in a while they'll get something like broccoli in there and then the kids will be like, 'Awww broccoli,' but that's the great part about Kids Cafe is that they sometimes bring staff and will talk to them about the benefits about broccoli and the benefits of vegetables and why they should eat their vegetables and what are some fun ways to make their vegetables. The kids go home saying, ‘Ya know what that broccoli not too bad.'"
"It's one thing to have people come on site to get food from the Cedar Valley food pantry, but it's another thing in the community working with youth especially since they are the future so I think it's important to get them started off right," said Carlson.
Last year Kids Cafe provided more than 39,000 meals and snacks to children in Black Hawk County.
Kids Cafe is also served at the Evansdale Boys and Girls Club and the Waterloo Salvation Army.
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