Why is good nutrition so important?

More than 13 million children in the US go to bed hungry according to the US Department of Agriculture. With the impacts of COVID-19, that number is expected to increase greatly.

Food insecurity can have long-lasting effects on young children, impacting their memory, social and learning skills.

Children who live in households that are food insecure, even at the lowest levels, get sick more often, recover more slowly from illness, have poorer overall health and are hospitalized more frequently.

Children and adolescents affected by food insecurity are more likely to be iron deficient, and preadolescent boys dealing with hunger issues have lower bone density.

Early childhood malnutrition also is tied to conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Lack of adequate healthy food can impair a child’s ability to concentrate and perform well in school and is linked to higher levels of behavioral and emotional problems from preschool through adolescence.

How we began

Dinners4KidsOC.org is modeled after a program that originated in Pennsylvania, by restaurant owners Edna and David Tevet. Over nine years ago, the Tevets created Dinners4Kids to fight hunger in their community. The project met with great success and has fed many hundreds of children in need.

Rabbi Roger Lerner of the Monroe Temple for Liberal Judaism became aware of the Pennsylvania effort. He approached David Wenger, owner of the Empire Diner in Monroe, NY to see if and how the program could be replicated here.

Dinners4KidsOC is a collaborative project between a group of individuals and area businesses who are banding together to feed hungry children in our community. While we’ve started with schools in Monroe, NY, our plan is to expand services to other municipalities throughout Orange County NY.

Dinners4KidsOC.org is not tied to any religious organization.

Who is eligible for Dinners4KidsOC?

Area school nurses and social workers identify children who are eligible for free/reduced/subsidized school lunch programs. These subsidized lunches are often the children’s only decent daily meal.

With many schools closed due to COVID-19, vital in-school meals are now unavailable in a number of cases. And with many families so negatively financially impacted by coronavirus, meals at home are more difficult to come by. This is where Dinners4KidsOC.org is so vital.

Our goal is to work with other school districts in the County to broaden our reach and to identify and serve other at-risk children.

Who makes the food?

The Empire Diner, Monroe NY, provides our dinners. They prepare fresh, kid-approved, nutritious, delicious and balanced dinners. Each meal is packed in a microwave-safe container that is easy for children to heat on their own. Dinners4KidsOC.org provides six meals per week for each child in a given family. Although the dinners are prepared by the Empire Diner, and there is a nominal food cost associated with the restaurant’s efforts, all donations received go directly to feeding the children.

How is the food delivered?

Volunteers deliver the food, which is dropped off at the door for safety purposes and following health protocols.

Who funds this?

Funding for Dinners4KidsOC.org depends solely on donations. The organization is reaching out to the community, to organizations and businesses to raise money to feed these and more children in need.

All the funds donated to the program are used for the direct costs of preparing the meals. It is a volunteer-based program, with no paid staff and no facility expenses.

Want more information?

Contact us for sponsorships, donations, volunteering, and inquiries of all types.  We are ALL in this together! Thank you!