HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — School is out for the day, but learning is just beginning at Harvie Elementary. The Henrico Police Athletic League (PAL) program takes over the cafeteria, and students have a snack and healthy dinner in between getting help with their homework.
“My favorite things are the pork chops because of the way they season them,” says Life’s Harmony Roach, a fifth grade student. “Really good and taste good.”
The meals come courtesy of the FeedMore Kids Cafe. After school, 65 sites across the Richmond and Tri-Cities area welcome students.
“A lot of them come from single parent homes with parents who actually work and often times they may provide fast food,” says Henrico PAL Executive Director, Kenneth Ragland. “But here, they’re actually getting a full-course, hot meal daily.”
The Henrico PAL program also uses the meals for lessons on childhood obesity prevention.
“It’s really teaching us how to learn and do stuff the right way,” explains Zarius Carter, a fourth grade student.
Adds Roach, “You eat some of that, some of this and some of that but not too much of everything. You eat about the same amount, so it’s all equal and you get enough of everything.”
The kids enjoy favorite foods.
“Apples,” first grader Brielle Williams responds when 8News Anchor Amy Lacey asks her what she likes to eat most in the Kids Cafe.
Students also find new ways to enjoy veggies they were not so crazy about before.
“The broccoli and the carrots and the salad,” lists Carter.
Fifth grade student Jayla Collins also describes why she enjoys the salad. “The crunch and the lettuce and the dressing on it makes it flavorful.”
The Kids Cafe distributed about 485-thousand snacks and meals across the region during the last fiscal year.
Ragland says what he has witnessed in Henrico has been a priceless gift.
“Over the past eight years, the Kids Cafe and FeedMore have been a tremendous help to the thousands of kids that’s come through the Henrico PAL program,” he says.
You can support the Kids Cafe and other FeedMore hunger-relief programs at ZestFest 2017.
8News is a proud sponsor of the gala on February 25. Follow this link for information about the event.