Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma's Kids Cafe Program Expanding, Providing More Produce

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma's Kids Cafe Program Expanding, Providing More Produce

Article excerpt

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is expanding its Kids Cafe program to more locations while providing more fresh fruits and vegetables at all of the sites.

The after-school and summer program provides food, mentoring, tutoring and activities to about 850 at-risk children at 18 sites in central and western Oklahoma. The purpose of the program is to educate children to make healthy decisions about what they consume, said Paula Clayton, programs director for Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

Four new locations have been added to Kids Cafe this year and more sites are expected to be added soon, she said. The new sites added to the program started 12 years ago are Epworth United Methodist Church, 1901 N. Douglas Ave., Oklahoma City; Quayle United Methodist Church, 5501 N. Everest Ave., Oklahoma City; Western Heights Baptist Church, 200 N. Gilbert, Cleveland; and Frederick First Methodist Church, 301 E. Grand, Frederick.

"The new sites will provide kids with nutritious food, tutoring sessions and other recreational activities, which provides them with a healthy, positive environment and will ultimately help them in their future," said Debbie Bell, Kids Cafe coordinator for the food bank.

A majority of the Kids Cafe sites are in the Oklahoma City area. In addition to the new locations in Cleveland and Frederick, the program provides food to sites in Ardmore, Enid and Wilson, Clayton said.

"The Kids Cafes are mostly in churches but some are operated by civic organizations," she said.

Generally a Kids Cafe will send a bus to schools to pick up students. Some of the sites are open three days a week and others operate five days weekly.

"Most of the sites serve a meal for the children," Clayton said. "Some might serve a snack some days and meals other days."

Some of the sites offer a summer program. The food bank requires sites to offer tutoring, character building, nutritional training and physical activity to qualify for the program, Clayton said. …

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