News / USA

Kids Cafe Fights Childhood Hunger

After-school program feeds the hungry while exposing children to healthy foods

Students in the Kids Cafe after-school program learn about the nutritious value of an avocado while making an avocado and bean dip.
Students in the Kids Cafe after-school program learn about the nutritious value of an avocado while making an avocado and bean dip.

Multimedia

Deborah Block

In the United States, many low income parents cannot afford to buy enough food for their children. A program called Kids Café is helping some of these children by providing free nutritious snacks and meals during after-school programs.  

At a community center in Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., children make an avocado and bean dip as part of their after-school program. Many of them have never seen an avocado.  

"It’s very healthy for your body, but the main thing is that it tastes really, really good," Keith Clements tells them. He's with Arlington Parks and Recreation, which runs the after-school program.  

The children are between the ages of five and 11 and are from several local schools. About half have parents who are from Ethiopia. Many of the children eat traditional Ethiopian food at home. Kids Café, with food donated by a food bank, gives them an opportunity to try different types of food.

"It's good," says one girl.

Rebecca Nance, whose parents are from the United States, is not so sure. "The taste is weird."

Her mother, Daffany Nance has two children in the program. She's glad her kids are getting nutritious food.

"Even in my house we don’t have much junk food," says Nance, "so it’s very important that it’s healthy and continues to help them grow and be nourished in the proper manner."

The charity, Feeding America, launched the national Kids Café program in 1993. The organization says more than 16 million children in the United States live in households where there is not enough food to eat.  

Kids Café became part of the after school program at this community center five years ago.  Lori McFail heads the after-school program. She says some children do not eat well-balanced evening meals because their parents work late or cannot afford healthy food.  

"Some of them have reported that they don’t get enough food," says McFail.

The children are encouraged to share what they've learned with their families.  

Clements says recipes, like this avocado dip, are easy to make. "It’s a very kid friendly recipe because anyone can do it. You really don’t need any special utensils."

The children are taught about the nutritional value of foods.   

"It doesn’t give you any fat or sugar in it," says one girl.

They also learn which foods are good for them.

"You should always eat vegetables and fruits every day to give you muscles," says a boy named Matthew.

McFail hopes the children will apply what they've learned about nutrition throughout their lives. "I love the fact that I can come here, and know that they’ve eaten, and they're full and they're happy."

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs