CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The twenty-three kids lining up for a hot meal at the Cannon Street YMCA are quite a different set of diners than what Chef Robert Carter may be accustomed.
"There's a real need for feeding children. One in four kids in the lowcountry go to bed hungry every night," Chef Carter, of Carter's Kitchen and Rutledge Cab Co. says.
That is why Chef Carter lends a hand to Kids Café, a child feeding program through the Lowcountry Food Bank. Through the program, hot meals are delivered to 20 after-school sites in the area.
"This is an opportunity to give them a meal. Maybe when they go home, they don't have a meal," he says. "They get lunch [at school], sometimes they can get to school in time to have assisted breakfast, but sometimes this is the last hot meal of the day for them."
This particular afternoon, the menu includes milk, applesauce, crackers, egg salad and cole slaw. The same meal will go to close to 1,400 kids in the lowcountry.
Myra Chamble, childcare and activities director at the Cannon Street YMCA, says the children are better able to focus and behave when they are fed.
"The children look forward to it, the parents looks forward to it, and some of the staff looks forward to it," she says.
The meals are prepared at the Lowcountry Food Bank, partly by culinary apprentices.
The Lowcountry Food Bank has several programs that fight childhood hunger, including Kids Cafe, BackPack Buddies, School Pantry and Summer Feeding. Their biggest fundraiser of the year is the Chef's Feast, where 35 local chefs will be cooking for a cause. The event is Sunday and tickets are available at lowcountryfoodbank.org.