The original Kids Cafe program began in Savannah, Georgia in 1989 when two boys broke into a community center to steal food from the pantry. When asked why they did it, the older boy answered, "Because my brother is hungry."
This same sort of story inspired the startup of Mission Hope for Kids, formerly operating as Kid's Cafe. In the summer of 2007, Children and youth were transported to church from distressed low-income neighborhoods. On the first day of the program, a church van and personal vehicle were used to transport approximately twenty students. After a brief cell phone conversation, the adults in both vehicles were astounded to find that the children were all complaining about being hungry.
During the ride to church, Austyn, a nine-year old boy found an old ho-ho snack tucked in the back seat of the church van. He held the snack in his hand and whined, "I'm hungry!" However, the adult rider within the van asked Austyn to put it away because it was old and unsuitable to be eaten having been left in the van from prior use. In the commotion of the van ride, Austyn was forgotten until they arrived at the church. Upon arrival, the volunteers noticed that Austyn had clenched the snack so tightly that the seams had popped. Much to their dismay, the missing contents of the snack package were smeared on Austyn's face.
After that day's discovery, a handful of moms from the church decided to display God's love in a very tangible way to these children. They took turns preparing hot meals for the children transported from the community each week. To this very day, stories of many children still depict the term 'poverty' as a very real need in our community.
In May 2012, Kids Cafe became Mission Hope for Kids and has expanded on the core foundation of the program, providing a safe and nurturing environment where disadvantaged school-aged children receive a hot meal and participate in faith-based activities while being supervised by caring adult volunteers. In addition, the children of Mission Hope for Kids receive after-school homework assistance and access to a clothes closet and hygiene items. They also participate in activities promoting character and personal accountability. With additional resources provided by community friends and partners, this center has become a place for heads of household to gain skill sets and training in both professional and personal development.
"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin." Zechariah 4:10
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