“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 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.
USDA recently visited our main facility and were amazed at what they saw. Robin Bailey, Jr., Southeast Regional Administrator for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and I are pictured here identifying turkeys purchased by the USDA through The Emergency Food Assistance Program. Items like these are distributed to needy families by state partners like food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens, or community action agencies.
Of all the food banks they work with and visit, they said ours was beyond what they’ve seen and imagined. Our systems, inventory control, food safety and spotlessly clean environment are all of the qualities they seek in a partner. We have a contract to distribute food that is part of “The Emergency Food Assistance Program”. These are various USDA commodities that are provided for people in need.
USDA is one of many fine examples of partnerships that bring millions of pounds of food to our Central Florida table for distribution. Farmers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, manufacturers, restaurants, resorts along with community food drives all come together with their donations. Last year alone this totaled enough food for 53 million meals. That works out to Second Harvest channeling the food at the rate of one meal per second. Read More …October 16, 2013
Last Thursday our Kids Cafes began the first phase of a significant nutritional transformation. Full five component meals will now be offered daily to at-risk children in afterschool centers located in low income areas.
Prior to our approval on October 2nd, subsidies from the Child Care Food Program, overseen by the Florida Department of Health, would only partially cover the cost of small snacks. The new program, called the Afterschool Meal Program, or AMP, taps increased USDA funding to help sponsors such as Second Harvest Food Bank enhance and sustain new and existing sites. Read More …April 30, 2013
As the end of the school year quickly approaches, Second Harvest Food Bank will seamlessly transition from its Kids Cafe afternoon program to The Summer Food Service Program.
This USDA subsidized program makes it possible for us to provide free, nutritious, prepared meals to children ages 18 and under while schools and their cafeterias are closed for the season. Community centers, summer camps, churches and other nonprofit organizations may participate. Additionally, for-profit, low income residential complexes may also host sites. Read More …April 10, 2012
The Summer Food Service Program gives us the opportunity to provide free, nutritious meals to children ages 18 and under while schools and their cafeterias are closed for the season. Community centers, summer camps, churches and other nonprofit organizations may participate in this program. Additionally, for-profit, low income residential complexes may also host summer food sites.
This summer, we hope to sponsor sites in three counties. The program will operate from June 8th through August 17th – for a total of 50 days.
Since this program commenced at Second Harvest Food Bank in 2008, 167,030 meals have been served.
To participate, a site must: Read More …