June 8, 2017

Chicken vs. Chicken

Author: Maureen Mikel

Kids Cafe focus group“Mmmm this is the best cheese I’ve ever had!”

“Look, there’s chicken, and ham, AND cheese AND bread!!”

“Oh yeah, this gets a thumbs up!… no, a double thumbs up!!”

These were just some of the reactions I overheard during a Kids Cafe Focus Group I had the opportunity to attend last Wednesday, May 31st at Goldenrod Recreation Center.

Second Harvest Food Bank’s Kids Cafe is an after-school meal service program that provides food for needy children in Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties, providing quick access to meals at the end of the school day. Kids Cafe Focus Groups help the food bank’s chefs hone in on, not only the most nutritious food they can distribute to kids in our community, but what kids enjoy most as well. Read More …

April 19, 2017

Our Kids Cafe Story

Author: Santos Maldonado

Our organization quickly embraced America’s Second Harvest’s (what is now Feeding America) Kids Cafe Program soon after it was conceived in 1993. Since then, over 60 different locations in four counties have benefited from this prepared meal program.

  • Since 1993, over 2.2 million meals have been served.
  • 33% of those in the last 3 years.
  • From inception to 2015, prepared meals were purchased from an external vendor.
  • In October of 2015, our production kitchen began delivering cold meals.
  • In February of 2016, we partnered with Orange County Parks & Recreation to provide meals to their 12 after school centers!
  • In August of 2016, our kitchen began serving hot meals.
  • Last December, we opened up our first Kids Cafe in Brevard County.
  • Just last month, we opened up our second Brevard Kids Cafe.
  • Today, we serve over 1,400 kids each day at 27 different locations in 4 counties.View a Map of current sites.

Read More …

October 15, 2015

Kids Cafes to Receive Much Improved Meals Starting October 19th

Author: Santos Maldonado

Little boy with food

On Monday, October 19th, our community kitchen’s production line will begin to pump out freshly prepared, nutritionally balanced, and much improved afternoon meals for over 700 youngsters at 8 Orange, Osceola and Seminole locations.

The community kitchen honed its skills this past summer, serving up almost 117,000 meals for the Summer Food Service Program during 55 operational days at 40 locations. Earlier this month, our production staff began working with Orange County Public Schools to provide lunches and snacks to 20 Head Start sites.

For years, Second Harvest has relied on outside prepared food providers to support its childhood hunger programs. Now, with the proven performance of our Community Kitchen, this function can be handled internally. More importantly, in-house food preparation allows for better control over menu planning, freshness, and temperatures.

Economic benefits also ripple into the local economy as workers are hired and raw product is sourced. Read More …

September 9, 2015

Kids Cafes Open Their Doors as School Buses Roll

Author: Santos Maldonado

Little boy with Kids Cafe mealOn August 24th classes began for most students in Central Florida, and that’s precisely when our Kids Cafe after School Meal Program rolled out for the 17th consecutive year.

The Kids Cafe Program operates during the entirety of the academic year, providing nutritious, five-component meals to children 18 or under at eligible centers in low income, at-risk communities.

In the last 3 years, our Kids Cafes have served 587,696 meals to approximately 1,300 children daily at 13 locations in 3 counties. Since the program began in 1998, more than 1.7 million meals have been served. The program has shown significant growth since 2013 and plans are underway to not only expand, but to continue improving our menus by adding more fresh fruit and vegetables. Read More …

January 21, 2015

Walmart Sparks Change at 4 Kids Cafes

Author: Santos Maldonado

Local Kids Cafes receive new equipment from recent Walmart grantThanks to your Facebook “likes”, Second Harvest Food Bank was among the winners of the Walmart Sparks Change grant. This grant helps food banks secure the food, equipment, and support needed to serve the 49 million Americans that according to the USDA, may not know where their next meal will come from at some point this year.

Your daily votes helped us win $60,000, the equivalent of 315,000 additional meals that will find their way into our community.

As part of our focus on, and commitment to childhood hunger, a significant part of the dollars were used to purchase new equipment for 4 of our 13 Kids Cafes. Read More …

October 30, 2014

“In The Zone” with Arnold Palmer Pediatric Residents and Midway Safe Harbor’s Kids Cafe

Author: Santos Maldonado

midwaySince mid-September, pediatric residents from Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children have been visiting Sanford’s Midway Safe Harbor Kids Cafe to interact with children, parents and staff.

In the Zone is a medical education program that gives residents a chance to leave the examining room and get out into the community where they can witness the circumstances and factors that impact a child’s health and helps prepare them to act as effective leaders and agents of change within the community, with the ultimate goal of eliminating healthcare disparities for people of diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Read More …