Local pair aims to battle hunger with children’s cafe

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A new restaurant is in the works in Albany’s South End whose aim is to help end hunger for the area’s youth.

Marquis Hodge-Humphreys, 19, grew up in Albany’s South End. He spent time in foster care and is now in a transitional living program for the homeless.

“Hunger was a big deal,” he said. “Buying food month-to-month. Budgeting.”

Hodge-Humphreys said he sees hope and a brighter future for his community. That’s where fellow South End neighbor Tracie Killar comes in.

The pair plan to create South End Children’s Café to provide meals for youth and families.

“Statistics show that when children and families eat together that children do better in school,” Killar said. “They sleep better. They feel better the next day.”

The non-profit is still looking for a location, but they’ve already talked to city leaders. Money will be raised to buy food, but they’re also hoping the community will help their restaurant-style idea.

“That would be willing to commit once or twice a year to donate a meal for about 30 youth,” Killar said.

“Going to a restaurant isn’t something a lot of people – at least me in this area – I haven’t done too much,” Hodge-Humphreys said.

Pastor Charlie Muller with Victory Church already provides food programs to around 35,000 children each year in Albany. But he said more programs are needed.

“There’s a big need on weekends,” he said. “Summertime, they don’t get their subsidized lunches.”

On Friday, Muller served smoothies from his City Kids smoothie truck. A vegetable truck is also on the way.

“We do mix it with fresh fruit, but it’s five vegetables and five fruits all wrapped up in one,” he said.

For Hodge-Humphreys, the South End Children’s Café is about change.

“When they need food, well, they go down the wrong paths to find that and sometimes those are the only paths available, so I’m hoping this program opens up more opportunities in the future,” he said.

The first fundraiser for the café is June13, and they hope to have the café open by August

The organizers hope to have an after school program and other activities at the café.

All information regarding the café can be found on its website, here.

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