Out of what seemed like nowhere, I received a call in my office from a gentleman who introduced himself as "Coach." He explained how his football players were showing up to practice with some of the unhealthiest snacks, which then made practice even worse as nutrition and athletics go hand-in-hand.
After a meeting to figure out how Kids Cafe can meet the need for the students, we made a plan that started with the football team and now has become something that we couldn't have planned. It has always been in my heart to not only help the elementary aged children but all kids. I once wrote in my diary of sorts the words that were a wish at the time, "What about the older kids?" That wish was becoming a reality.
What an amazing year the Kids Cafe has had! With our normal daily operations offering afterschool hot meals to students in the community, we took on a project that was much different. We partnered with a local high school in the summer of 2012 and are still going strong.
The results? Well, I must say, all that are involved are happy with the results. The kids that choose to make healthy choices for a snack go down the hall and get items such as yogurt, fresh fruit, bagels, peanut butter and/ or honey, and of course the #1 item, chocolate milk.
The coach's report is encouraging.... weight lost where needed, weight gained in muscle for others, as well as academic grades improving. One staff said they don't see as many Fire Cheetos being consumed by the students. Parents have nice things to say as well, like: "Thank you for showing my kid healthy options in life". One parent was pleased to say the kids are not asking for pop tarts for breakfast but wanting fresh fruit.
This is what I call a lifelong lesson to all. When we offer fresh and healthy food options to students it can make a difference in their daily decisions and for the rest of their life.
What a wonderful program this has become. The High Plains Food Bank Kids Cafe is reaching out and making a lifelong difference in how our youth eats and proving that healthy nutrition choices are important for a strong mind and body.
Director of Kids Cafe