New programs, strategies are now going beyond soup kitchens in region
By Steve Barnes
Raven Kalter and her three kids—13, 10 and 4—have been going out to eat five nights a week since the beginning of this month.
They all get three-course meals from fresh, healthful ingredients. And it's free.
The Kalters are members of the South End Children's Café, a new, private, nonprofit concept in providing food to those in need. That it is in a restaurant setting instead of a church, shelter or soup kitchen makes it part of a growing movement to address hunger with different, varied and more nuanced strategies.
The Kalter kids go to the South End Children's Café after school to participate in programs and study with volunteers, and their mom joins them, along with dozens of others, for dinner.
"It's good food — probably better than something I would make," said Kalter, who lives near the café's Rensselaer Street location. "The kids are there, staying safe and off the street and getting their homework done, then we all get to have dinner together. I like that it's there for us."
We are in a season of abundance, from the orange riot of pumpkins brightening fields and front porches last month to Thanksgiving tables that later this week will be laden with zeppelinesque bronzed turkeys.