After School Meal for At Risk Children and Youth

Emporia, KS: Robin Newell, Executive Director of the Emporia Public Library, announced this week that the library will begin offering a free after school meal in conjunction with their Something Cool After School program on Wednesdays. The free shelf stable meal pilot program will be provided in the large meeting room at 4:00 each Wednesday for children and youth under the age of 18. Children and youth do not need to attend the Something Cool After School program in order to receive a free meal.

Newell, who has worked at the library for three years, has observed that many children come directly from school to the library and stay until the library closes at 8:00 p.m. “These kids are hungry. We are not offering them a Snickers bar, they are receiving an approved meal with milk. We know that a child that has been fed behaves better than a child who has not been fed. In our eyes the program is a win win. We help a child by providing a meal and we help library staff have a more agreeable group of children to work with in the library in the evening. We are thankful to have received funding for the first few meals from the United Way and Friends of the Library. We have applied for state funding from the Kansas State Department of Education for the pilot program.”

The Something Cool After School program, held on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:00 rotates LEGO, STEM, Art and Literature programs on a weekly basis. The library collaborates with Kansas Free for Arts and Emporia State University science students to ensure programming of interest to elementary age children.