Senator Casey visits Emmaus Kids Cafe

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey talks with Breanna Mekuly as he helps prepare lunch at Kids Cafe

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey visited Emmaus Ministries' Kids Cafe on June 30 to launch his Five Freedoms for American Children Plan and to visit with children who depend on the meals they receive at the Kids Cafe for basic food security. "There is food insecurity in Erie," explained Kids Cafe Coordinator Breanna Mekuly. "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."

Breanna gave Senator Casey a tour of the safe space where the children can get help with homework, play games, relax and watch TV, or "shop" with special tokens for toys, food, gifts, or personal hygiene items before they sit down to a hot, nutritious meal. In the hall he noticed a posted sign titled, "Kids Cafe Pledge" and stopped to read the seven points, including, "I will be kind to others and use good manners," and "I will try to solve problems in a peaceful way without violent words or actions." He grinned--obivous in his eyes as masks are still required at the Kids Cafe--and told Sister Mary Miller, Director of Emmaus Ministries, the umbrella organization that runs Kids Cafe, "We need this pledge in Washington!"

In a press conference held in the Kids Cafe dining room, Senator Casey announced his Five Freedoms program. "No child should have to go to bed wondering where he or she will receive their next meal. We can—and we must—do better," he said.

After the press conference, Senator Casey literally rolled up his sleeves and went to work in the kitchen--quite warm in 80-degree plus heat with no air conditioning--and helped prepare lunch for the 25-30 children. Breanna explained that the Kids Cafe has just reopened post-COVID and numbers are down. Prior to COVID, 70 children a day were served.

Senator Casey's Five Freedoms for America's Children are: Freedom To Be Healthy, Freedom To Be Economically Secure, Freedom To Learn, Freedom From Hunger, Freedom To Be Safe From Harm.

Senator Casey comments to Sister Mary Miller <br />on the "Kids Cafe Pledge"
Senator Casey comments to Sister Mary Miller
on the "Kids Cafe Pledge"
The Senator greets each of the children.
The Senator greets each of the children.
At a press conference, Senator Casey introduces new legislation, Five Freedoms for American Children Plan.
At a press conference, Senator Casey introduces new legislation, Five Freedoms for American Children Plan.
After the press conference, the Senator chats with the children.
After the press conference, the Senator chats with the children.
Before leaving, Breanna points out messages <br />from the children.
Before leaving, Breanna points out messages
from the children.
Plates on the food line.
Plates on the food line.