Adrea Lund, the head of children and teen services at the Grand County Public Library, saw how many kids were attending the free lunch served at Helen M. Knight Elementary this summer. She knew there were a few weeks between the end of that lunch program and the start of the school year, and had the idea to start a Kids Cafe at the library.
“I heard about other libraries using this program, and I thought it would be beneficial for our kids,” said Lund. “It’s through the Utah Food Bank. I called to see if our community would qualify, and we do.”
Kids Cafe is serving free lunch to children up to 18 years old from noon until 1 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays at the Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center Street, from now until August 14. Grand County schools are back in session on August 15.
Lund said that once the school year is back in session the Kids Cafe will switch to providing afternoon snacks from 3:30 until 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays.
Lund said the library does not have a kitchen; the meals are pre-packaged. Main courses include barbecue chicken salad and hummus dip; side dishes include sunflower kernels, whole grain crackers and applesauce. Milk and veggie juice are also provided.
The Utah Food Bank states on their website that Kids Cafe is “filling the nutrition gap that exists during out-of-school hours with nutritious after-school meals.”
The website also states, “Last year, our Kids Cafe kitchen staff prepared an average of 2,200 meals each weekday. These meals were packed and transported to 86 sites where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. Participating sites offer not only a way to satiate hunger, but also a safe place where children can participate in educational, recreational and social activities under the supervision of trustworthy staff.”
Those interested in volunteering with Kids Cafe may contact Lund at 435-355-0922.