New Food Program Uses Historic Model To Bring Breakfast To St. Louis Kids

On the St. Louis Youth and Household Middle, Jamez Kinnard palms over plates filled with waffles, eggs, bacon and oranges to greater than 30 kids.

After simply a few weeks of serving breakfast, he’s in a position to level out the youngsters preferring blueberry waffles, those with dairy restrictions and those who solely need fruit on their plate.

“All of us deserve, no less than, breakfast,” Kinnard stated. “Meals shouldn't be a privilege and undoubtedly shouldn’t be handled as such.”

Open 5 days per week, the Free Breakfast Program is a brand new initiative to feed kids in north St. Louis through the summer season. This system goals to offer campers on the Youth and Household Middle with entry to sizzling and wholesome meals.

Three years in the past, Jeneisha Harris began the group group in Nashville. She modelled this system after the Nineteen Seventies Black Panther Occasion mission with the identical identify. Harris consulted with unique members of the celebration to duplicate each element.

“I actually needed to maintain the essence of this system in its entirety, from the construction on right down to the menu,” Harris stated.

The unique program started in 1969 at a church in West Oakland, California. The Black Panthers established kitchens throughout the nation and fed tens of hundreds of youngsters earlier than ending this system within the late ‘70s.

Immediately, Harris oversees kitchens in two places, Nashville and St. Louis. Between the 2 cities, Harris estimates this system serves round 175 kids a day.

“In case you come to the situation in St. Louis or Nashville, you'll be able to simply really feel from the ambiance and the people who it’s so community-rooted,” Harris stated. “We don’t have fancy amenities. We don’t have fancy kitchens. It’s actual, true grassroots group work.”

The group facet is what first attracted Kinnard to the group. He serves because the St. Louis volunteer lead for this system — recruiting volunteers and elevating donations.

“I feel till we get to a degree the place Black individuals have the identical assets, the identical entry and the identical honest likelihood at a traditional life, finishing up the work of the unique Black Panthers shall be on the epicenter of my ardour,” Kinnard stated.

The funds for the breakfast meals come instantly from members of the group. Every greenback goes into getting as many groceries for this system as attainable, Harris stated.

“We by no means inform kids ‘no’. No matter they want, we give it to them. If they need seconds or thirds, they get them,” she stated.

Harris hopes every meal has an enduring affect on the kid it feeds — the identical manner she feels the unique program did on the era it served.

“I really imagine that 15, 40 years from now, the youngsters will bear in mind this work of simply feeding kids,” Harris stated. “And that’s the type of legacy I wish to depart.”

Observe Kendall on Twitter: @kcrawfish33

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