AMARILLO -- The Kids Cafe program of High Plains Food Bank broke ground on its new kitchen Friday. The new kitchen is located at SE 8th Avenue and Osage Street, directly northeast of the Food Bank warehouse.
The kitchen has been in development since 2008 and will help the program meet the demands by expanding throughout the Panhandle.
Kids Cafe is an after-school hot meals program that currently serves at 10 sites in the Amarillo area. The meals are prepared fresh every day and delivered to the sites to serve on a daily basis. The expansion gives the program the ability to expand to rural communities in our area, which will increase access to fresh nutritious food by kids in those rural communities.
“Adding this new facility is something we put a lot of thought into,” said Zack Wilson, Executive Director. “With the addition of this kitchen the Kids Cafe program will have the space, capacity, and equipment to grow the program into more schools and communities throughout the Texas Panhandle.”
“We first think about sustainability, because if the program can’t be funded then the kids are the ones who lose, “said Wilson. “We have seen great support, and people are really helping us deliver on our promise to make meals that matter.”
Kids Cafe serves meals in after-school programs through AISD, in organizations like Maverick Boys and Girls Club, and in churches like Eastridge Baptist Church. The sites serve the meals in a safe environment with mentoring activities provided in a collaborative effort.
For Leigh Fuller, Director of the Kids Café program, it's all about helping kids be kids.
"It's important they have those things. Nutrition and food, to be able to just be kids - learn, play, run, be healthy," Fuller said.
According to Wilson, the new kitchen will cost around $1.8 million in total. It is about 50% funded right now, all from private donations. They have not used any grant funding thus far. It will be around 3,300 square feet, compared to the current kitchen, which is around 1,200 square feet.