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The mission of the South End Children's Cafe is to impact hunger and food insecurity, enhance academic success and positively influence the physical and mental health of children living in the south end of Albany, New York by offering free, healthy dinner time meals along with academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, exercise and participation in the arts Monday through Friday.
The concept of a Cafe was created to address food insecurity in a creative way. Surveys have shown that students in poverty worry more about where there next meal is going to come from than they worry about math or reading. We cannot expect children to focus on academics when they are hungry. At the South End Children's Cafe, children, their parents and caregivers, community members and volunteers sit together to enjoy a meal. Meals are cooked by teams of volunteers or are provided by Restaurant Partners, local restaurants who have donated a meal for all to share. Each meal includes a salad, main dish and a healthy dessert with milk or water to drink in a cafe setting. While the meals are free, all children volunteer at the Cafe in some way, therefore playing an important role in the success of the program.