As the site director of the Eastside Terrace Boys & Girls Club in Bellevue, Kristi Holmes works hard to ensure every child who comes through the door after school receives a nutritious Kids Cafe meal. The Club partners with Food Lifeline to provide these healthy after-school meals because otherwise, many of the kids she serves would have nothing to eat before breakfast at school the next day.
The Boys & Girls Club, which is located on property owned by the King County Housing Authority, mostly serves children whose parents are living paycheck to paycheck. During the day, the kids have access to regular meals in their school’s cafeteria — but the same isn’t true when they return home.
Kristi has had the opportunity to speak with many parents about the Kids Cafe, and she says their responses have been overwhelmingly positive.
“Parent’s say it’s good that we serve veggies and fruits,” she says. “Other [after-school programs] just have snacks like Goldfish. Here, it’s a full meal.”
One of these parents is Anne, whose 9-year-old son, Shawn,* comes to the Club everyday after school. Anne says she loves that he’s getting such great, healthy food. Plus, it helps her budget because she doesn’t have to buy as much expensive produce in order to make sure he gets all the nutrients he needs.
Today, the Kids Cafe is serving yogurt, milk, carrots, sugar snap peas, oranges and strawberry oat bars. Shawn has a big grin when he sees the oranges and yogurt — they’re two of his favorite foods.
“Programs like this are some of the only times some kids get to eat this good food and not something from a convenience store,” Anne says, referring to the fact that many of Shawn’s friends at the Club don’t get to eat balanced meals at home because their parents can’t afford a trip to the grocery store.
In her time as site director, Kristi has met dozens of kids facing incredible challenges. But through your support of Food Lifeline, they’ve been able to overcome many of them…simply through better nutrition.
Because of you, kids like Shawn and his peers have a place to receive food beyond the unhealthy processed items that are all many parents can afford. On behalf of the children and families you’re helping, Kristi wants to say how much both she and they appreciate your gifts.
“We’re so very grateful for everything you do to provide this food,” she says. “It helps the families so much and we truly appreciate it. Without it, I know [some] of these kids would go home hungry at night.”
*Name has been changed.