Senator Casey at the Kids Cafe

“No public official should be satisfied when there are so many children without enough food to eat,” Senator Bob Casey stated with conviction as he began his press conference at Emmaus’ Kids Cafe. His visit to the Kids Cafe was a stop on a tour to promote his proposed legislation, Five Freedoms for America’s Children, specifically the freedom from hunger.

Kids Cafe Coordinator, Breanna Mekuly, explained the reality of the children who attend the Kids Cafe, “There is food insecurity in Erie. We have families who aren't certain when they will have a next meal. When a child arrives crabby, I ask them when they ate last. Sometimes, they haven't eaten since the last meal they had with us.”


Emmaus director, Sister Mary Miller, along with Breanna, greeted the United States senator from Pennsylvania at the door while children who attend the program also arrived for the day. Sister Mary told Senator Casey about the history of Emmaus Ministries and the specific ways that the Kids Cafe program serves children who hunger both for physical and emotional nourishment.


Breanna then offered a tour to the senator, showing him the areas where children enjoy recreational activities, where they can “shop” for goods like clothing, toiletries, and games for themselves and their families, as well as the dining area where those who attend enjoy a fresh meal each day. “Sister Mary tells me to buy the best ingredients I can, and I appreciate that we offer that to the children,” shared Carly DiFuccia, the cook at the Kids Cafe, with Senator Casey as he washed his hands, donned gloves, and began helping Carly prepare the meal the kids would later enjoy.

Taking more time to explain the daily realities that the children who attend the Kids Cafe program face, Breanna told the senator a story about a 10-year old who came in one day and told her that he was worried because his mother did not have enough money to pay the phone bill that month. “Why should a fourth grader have to worry about something like that?”

Senator Casey even took time to sit down with the children and answer questions they had. One boy asked him to play some one-on-one basketball, but the senator declined, knowing age wasn’t on his side, but also admitting that he does enjoy the game.

During the press conference, Senator Casey described in greater detail the goals of his legislation, which was supposed to be launched before Covid caused a halt on much governmental work outside of pandemic concerns last year. Casey’s five freedoms for which he advocates in his proposal are the Freedom To Be Healthy, the Freedom To Be Economically Secure, the Freedom To Learn, the Freedom From Hunger, and the Freedom To Be Safe From Harm.

Photo: Breanna Mekuly greets Senator Casey upon his arrival at the Kids Cafe

Senator Casey helps to prepare lunch
Senator Casey helps to prepare lunch
Senator Casey sits down with the Kids Cafe children
Senator Casey sits down with the Kids Cafe children