Kids Café at HPFB faces challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic

How you can help them through the ‘Together We Can Food and Fund Drive’ this week.
The Kids Café program at the High Plains Food Banks has been working to feed those children in our area, even with the many challenges the program is facing.
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 9:40 AM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - It’s day four of the Together We Can Food and Fund drive, and your donations are benefiting hundreds of Amarillo children who need meals every day.

One in four Amarillo children deal with food insecurity.

The Kids Café program at the High Plains Food Bank has been working to feed those children in our area, even with the many challenges the program is facing because of the pandemic.

The Kids Café provides meals to children ages five to 18 in schools, clubs and aftercare programs with nutritious food. They even provide seniors ages 55 and up with meals.

The Kids Café partners with AISD, Eastridge Mission Center and the Maverick Boys and Girls Club in Amarillo.

“We can serve up to 500 kids a day at six different locations. Out of those 500 kids, 89 percent are below poverty. So, they do have some food insecurities. That is where the Kids Café comes in and partners with us,” said Donna Soria, executive director of the Maverick Boys and Girls Club of Amarillo.

For students involved with the Maverick Boys and Girls Club, this is their last meal of the day. That way their parent doesn’t have to worry about buying or making dinner, and can instead spend time with their child.

The Kids Café serves 1,200 meals per day and feeds between 500 to 800 kids with two ounces of meat, two ounces of fruit and four ounces of vegetables.

The program typically serves more than 1,200 meals a day, but they are currently having to serve less kids because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s just a little more difficult to reach more kids in this particular manner,” said Maribel Sotelo, director of Kids Café at High Plains Food Bank.

One of the biggest challenges the Kids Café currently faces is dealing with a fluctuating numbers of meals each day because of COVID-19.

“There’s a more demand for help and assistance and sometimes that demand is greater than what we can put out because obviously we’re on budgets...probably our biggest changes are just our numbers,” said Sotelo. “They fluctuate more so daily than they ever have and then the fact that we can’t really plan a lot of things, like we’ll start planning something and then something will happen where it’s like oh no, these rules have changed, we can’t do that. Or, hey these rules have opened up, let’s try this and so we just have to be ready.”

With less staff at the Kids Café due to the pandemic, The Maverick Boys and Girls Club has stepped up to help with food deliveries.

“This year what’s kind of different for us is our site coordinators at the six different locations are coming here to pick up the food because it’s just too much for the food bank to have to get another vehicle, hire more staff to deliver to all these places when we can help out, and just on our way to the site, we can come by here and pick up those meals,” said Soria.

The program is unable to accept food donations because food safety is hard to track.

So, the best way you can help the Kids Café is by donating funds to the Together We Can Food Drive this week.

For more information, times, dates and locations click here.

Donate online if you cannot make it out to this years food drive.

Here you can find information about how to help the senior citizens community this year and The Garden at the High Plains Food Bank.

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