Emily Wheeler
Editorial Intern

Kids Cafe at Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) resumed June 10 — offering free, nutritious meals for children up to 18 years old. Its North-East branch will serve meals through Aug. 12, from 3 to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Each meal includes milk, meat/meat alternatives, vegetables, fruits and grains. 

These meals are provided through a partnership with Total Man Community Development Corporation. Total Man CDC works to develop initiatives, which address education, social and economic issues. 

“We see an increase in attendance in the summer months,” said Irma Reyes, Children’s Librarian at KCPL’s North-East branch. This summer session of KCPL’s Kids Cafe helps bridge the gap for food-insecure children within the community.

Photo by Emily Wheeler

The program additionally provides relief for Northeast parents in need of food assistance. “It can be hard in the summer; two extra meals for two children can add up. It is a blessing,” said parent Heather Lewis. 

According to the University of Missouri’s Missouri Hunger Atlas, 16.1% of individuals under 18 in Jackson County experience food insecurity. Food insecurity can damage a child’s ability to learn and grow. During the school year, many kids rely on free breakfast and lunch provided by  Kansas City Public Schools — leaving an increased need in the summer months. 

Free meals for children 18 years and under are offered during June at select Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS). Participating Northeast KCPS schools include Lincoln High, East High, Northeast High and J.A. Rodgers Elementary. Free meals are offered Monday through Friday, June 5 through June 28. This service will not be available on June 19 due to the Juneteenth holiday. The child must be present to receive and consume the meals on-site. Enrollment in KCPS is not required. 

Kids Cafe services will additionally be available from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Fridays at KCPL’s weekly pop-up event in Lykins Square Park. 

Other Resources

  • Salvation Army

3013 E. Ninth St.

Kansas City, Mo 64126

Monday- Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (lunch)

Monday- Thursday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 2 p.m (pantry)

*Must bring proof of residence to use services. 

  • New Beginning Apostolic Church

200 N. Bales

Kansas City, Mo 64123

(must use the entrance with bell) 

Tuesday- Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Calvary Temple- Helping Hands Food Pantry

5612 St. John Ave.

Kansas City, Mo 64123

Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • Food Not Bombs

Independence Ave & Monroe Ave.

(In front of the Family Dollar parking lot)

Sundays 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Harvesters Food Locator

Visit https://www.harvesters.org/get-food-assistance/food-locator to find a Harvesters agency partner in your area