The mission of the South End Children's Cafe is to impact food insecurity, address food equality and food justice, enhance academic success and positively influence the physical and mental health of children residing in the South End of Albany, New York by offering free, healthy dinner time meals along with homework help, academic enrichment, mentoring, exercise and participation in the arts Monday through Friday. The after school program begins at 3:30pm and dinner is served at 5:00pm. The children and parents/caregivers who attend the South End Children’s Cafe for a healthy meal play an active role in the success of the South End Children’s Cafe by attending as “Members” and are encouraged to volunteer five hours to the program per month in exchange for Membership. Community volunteers join the children daily, assisting with school projects, homework, goal setting and acquiring needed resources for good health and overall wellness. Family Members are invited to participate in all of the programs and to dine with the children in a family style atmosphere. The South End Children's Cafe is fiscally sponsored by Streams of Dreams.
Why a Cafe?
How do you feel when you go out to dinner with family or friends?. Sitting around a table, ordering from a menu, talking, laughing and relaxing. Sharing some time and a meal. Maybe getting advice from friends or sharing stories or memories.
The concept of a Cafe was created to address food insecurity, food equality and food justice in a creative way. Surveys have shown that students who are food insecure 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.
Research shows that adolescents fare better emotionally when they sit down for frequent family dinners. Family dinners help kids avoid risky behavior and may even help academic achievement. Researchers find that children have fewer emotional and behavioral problems, have better emotional well-being, are more trusting and are more helpful if they participate in family meals.
A study done by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse revealed that teens who eat fewer than three family dinners per week compared to those who eat five to seven a week, are twice as likely to use alcohol and tobacco and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.
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 dessert with milk or water to drink in a cafe setting.
Meet the Director
Tracie Killar, an Albany city and county resident for her entire life, is dedicated to children and families and is eager to bring her love of the community and her belief in the power of impacting food equality and food justice while impacting overall wellness, making friendships and having fun. She has worked in the nonprofit world for her entire career, and founded and directed a program called New Day Art, located in the South End for many years. In 2015, Tracie was joined by a number of dedicated citizens to create the South End Children's Cafe Advisory Committee. The Committee's interest in opening a new program addressing food insecurity, food equality and food justice, academic achievement, overall wellness and belief in the power of family, friends and community is the driving force behind the South End Children's Cafe.
Contact us to become a part of growth, inspiration, joy and wellness.We would love to hear from you!
To visit the South End Children's Cafe, become a member, donate to the Cafe, or volunteer, contact Tracie at 518.275.8890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
When did the Cafe open?
The South End Children's Cafe has been open since November 2, 2015. Children and Families interested in dining at the Cafe or having children grades k - 6 participate in the after school program must join as a member HERE.
Where is the South End Children's Cafe located?
The South End Children's Cafe is located at 33 Rensselaer Street, right behind DMV and the Albany County Department of Health. We are located inside Reigning Life Family Church, in a space designated for the South End Children's Cafe. We are so grateful for the partnership with Reigning Life's Club Zoe and for all the positive thoughts and well wishes and support from all of YOU! The South End Children's Cafe entrance is around the side of the building, by the recycling bins.
What happens each day?
The South End Children's Cafe is open Monday - Friday, after school, to 20 children. The children join us from a variety of schools throughout the city of Albany. When the children arrive, they are assisted with homework and tutoring by high school and college volunteers, as well as teachers and other school personnel who volunteer at the Cafe. After homework is finished, the children exercise in the gym, participate in enrichment classes like dance, theater and science, create art or help with cooking and preparing the dining room for dinner. At 5:00pm the children in the after school program are joined by family members for dinner. Dismissal is at 5:30pm. If you are interested in volunteering or if you would like to make a donations, please contact Tracie at 518.275.8890 or email@example.com or sign up HERE.
What does the Cafe look like?
The South End Children's Cafe looks like a small cafe, allowing children and families to enjoy dinner in a welcoming and inviting setting. The children participate in preparing the meals, waiting on tables, set up and clean up. Community is on our Menu! To see the latest news piece on the Cafe, click here.
Why the South End Children's Cafe?
Food is getting more and more expensive as you know. Hunger and Food Insecurity are impacting children and families everywhere. For some children and families, the meals served at school (breakfast and lunch) are the only meals that can be counted on. What happens during dinnertime, weekends and when schools are out for breaks? These are often times when programs close down. We are open up and serve healthy dinner time meals Monday to Friday,while building community and making new friends.
Are you in need of donations?
Absolutely! We are in need of food items and gift cards for produce and meats. if you are interested in hosting a foods drive, collecting food items or donating, please contact Tracie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
What can I do to help?
YOU are such an important ingredient. Like and share our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to get the word out, visit our website often for updates, consider hosting a fundraiser or donate to the Cafe or sign up as a volunteer.
Are donations to the South End Children's Cafe tax exempt?
Yes. With gratitude to Streams of Dreams, our fiscal sponsor. Streams of Dreams sponsors projects that tackle challenges in the face of communities throughout world, and support the social entrepreneurs who create solutions to change society for the better, spread the solution, and persuade people to move in a different direction. Their mission is to seed symbiotic relationships with social entrepreneurs who facilitate charitable programs that benefit the public good and make a better life for people in communities at a local, national, or even international level. Their vision is to create and sustain social value through the deliverance of charitable programs intended to accelerate public interest ideas into effective social action. Fiscal sponsorship allows the South End Children's Cafe the opportunity to conduct charitable activities, and receive tax-exempt donations and grants, and give donors a tax-deductible receipt for their contribution (cash, checks or credit card, matching gifts, membership dues and stock gifts), and tangible items (non-cash donations of equipment and materials). Learn more about Streams of Dreams today!
33 Rensselaer Street, Albany, New York 12202