On Warren Street in Albany, you’ll find a kitchen that’s been helping the local youth. Most of the people that work in the building are volunteers, and they’ve been helping the city’s hungry children to find a meal. During the summer months when school isn’t in session, the kitchen has been providing two meals each day, with free dinner coming during the school year.

Tracie Killar operates the South End Children’s Cafe. “Food is food and we all need something in our bellies,” Killar said. “But we wanted to feed the kids healthy food because I think we can easily feed them healthy food as much as unhealthy food. The parents sometimes are invited to eat here although most of the time, they don’t so our chef puts out to-go containers for them.”

There have been over 30,000 meals serviced by the South End Children’s Cafe to this point. They received a $10,000 grant for the operation, as well. “My pitch was to ask for funding so we can do a second dinner service so that we could feed more kids because our space is such a small area and we have a capacity in the cafe of 64 people,” Killar added.

“We can’t have more people inside for now but there’s still so many kids to feed. With the second dinner service, a group of kids would come in for dinner and then after they leave, a second group of kids can come in to eat.” Not all children can be given food, though. “We make do…But we always have a waiting list which breaks my heart,” Killar said. 

Killar is hoping that the operation expands so that more kids can get what they need. “People don’t have access to healthy food because it’s expensive and a lot of times they don’t have transportation,” she said. “Here in the South End, we’re considered as a food desert where there’s not a lot of affordable and accessible food, and our closest grocery store is about a mile away. Some families have to walk up the hill with their strollers and their kids wearing their backpacks to get to that grocery store. Then, you need to come all the way home with your grocery bags and kids, and sometimes you’re doing this as a single parent.”