It’s that time of year that kids love: summertime.
But when school is out and the free meals stop, the founder of Kids Kitchen, Elgin Jones, says this time of year is essential for the nonprofit organization.
“This summer we’re beginning out 16th annual food program where we feed the kids every day in the summer a hot nutritious meal,” Jones said.
Today on the menu: meatloaf, peas, oranges and mashed potatoes. It’s one of Fu-a Malacia’s favorite meals at Kids Kitchen. Malacia is a 9th grader at West High School, she’s a regular and one of the kitchen’s helping hands.
“I help with food and passing it out and giving the food to children,” Malacia said.
Kids Kitchen is dedicated to providing nutritional dinners, five days a week, year-round, for children at no cost. Meals that Jones says come complete with vegetables.
But as the nonprofit heads into another year of operation, it needs the public’s help in providing healthy food to develop healthy minds.
“We need canned vegetables, we need fruits. We especially need those carrots and broccoli,” Jones said.
Across town on this day, Natural Health Center is having a patient appreciation day, giving away chiropractic services for food donations that will go to Kids Kitchen.
“We felt that hungry kids were probably a vulnerable portion of our community,” said Rick Abbott, a chiropractor at Natural Health Center. “What better way to raise awareness for a population that’s more vulnerable during the summer months?”
The donations will be accepted at the center throughout the summer, with patient appreciation day held once a month, through August.
Abbott says these donations are essential because these kids are the future.
“These kids are growing, you can’t grow a plant without water and fertilizer,” Abbott said. “You need food for a kids mind to be engaged for their mind being able to learn, you need food to be able to grow up healthy.”
And so Fu-a Malacia can continue to enjoy what she says is the best part about coming to Kids Kitchen.
“Seeing new faces and hanging out with people, just being myself around here,” Malacia said.
For information on how you can help Kids Kitchen, visit its website.