Kids Cafe

No Child Should Go Hungry

Kids Cafe is a program of Feeding America®, a national network of more than 200 regional food banks. Kids Cafe is the country’s largest after-school meal service, providing free and prepared food, as well as nutrition education, to hungry children.

The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) currently has 26 Kids Cafes in various cities across the state. The Kids Cafe program is intended to help children escape the cycle of poverty by giving agencies and/or social service charities nutritious meals to serve in exchange for an agreement from the agencies to act as safe havens for the children. The FoodBank partners with local after-school programs that provide children with academic tutoring and a variety of recreational and educational activities with adult supervision.

Please contact our Director of Nutrition Lindsey Kennedy, RD, at lkennedy@cfbnj.org or call 908-355-3663 ext. 314 for more information.

Please contact our Child Nutrition Programs Coordinator Tamara Casseus at tcasseus@cfbnj.org or call 908-355-3663 ext. 259 for more information.

Kids Cafe History

In Savannah, GA, in 1989, two young brothers were discovered late one night in the kitchen of their housing project’s community center. When asked why they had broken in, the oldest replied “to feed myself and my little brother.” In response, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Georgia started the first Kids Cafe. In 1993, America’s Second Harvest (now called Feeding America) launched the national Kids Cafe program. There are currently more than 1,600 Kids Cafes in operation in the United States.

Kids Cafe Objectives

Provide nutritious meals to children in need.

The FoodBank provides the food items used in the preparation of nutritious meals, as well as primary program support.

Supplement meals with nutrition education activities.

Our staff nutritionist provides nutrition education to the children participating in the local Kids Cafe program. Click Here for a Kids Cafe Sample Menu.

Locate sites within easy access to children in need.

We select programs interested in hosting Kids Cafe sites based on their current program curriculum and commitment to incorporate nutritious prepared meals into their program. We are in the process of developing new sites across New Jersey, targeting locations close to schools with higher rates of at-risk children. Currently, we have Kids Cafes located in Essex, Hudson, Morris, Middlesex, Union and Passaic counties.

Get Involved

Making a contribution to a Kids Cafe is a great way to support the program. The average Kids Cafe operates on a sponsorship level of $20,000 per year.

Volunteer your time at your local Kids Cafe. You can assist in mentoring, tutoring, serving meals or participating in ongoing activities.

Why Become a Kids Cafe?

  • Access to nutritious meals.
  • Nutrition education tools.
  • One-on-one assistance from the FoodBank’s Kids Cafe program manager and nutritionist.

Click Here for the Kids Cafe Participation Guidelines.