Let all who are hungry come and eat...

MAZON’s Cafe at Beurling Academy

Richie's Cafe

by Richie Klimas, Special Education Technician

This post originally appeared as part of our 2014 Rosh Hashanah newsletter.

For the past 20 years at Beurling a few staff members have volunteered their time to feed hungry kids. It started by feeding a few kids some muffins in the back of our classroom, which was supposed to get them through to lunch. We soon discovered that not only were these kids coming in hungry for breakfast, they also had nothing to eat for lunch. We had to do something about it.

The only trouble was we didn’t have any money. On the advice of a colleague who suggested ” Why don’t you apply to an organization called MAZON…they help hungry kids.” We requested $500, and we received the money!

As time went on, more and more kids needed our help. They could not afford to buy anything in the cafeteria so we began to make hot lunches on a little two-burner electric stovetop. In the early days, we probably served lunches to around 25 kids. Today we serve around 150 kids per day, including breakfast as well. In time we were able to acquire a bigger space within the school, a proper stove and freezer, and a fridge and microwave ovens. Today the program is a necessity and is part of our school success plan. The place where we serve the children is called Richie’s Café, named after myself by the kids…but it should actually be called MAZON Café because they are the ones that support us the most. MAZON has become our lifeline. Without MAZON there is no Richie’s Café and the kids will go hungry.

Every year more and more kids come forward and are comfortable eating in the café without feeling ashamed. It challenging for us to operate on the budget that we have. But the one constant we have is that MAZON is always there every year supporting our kids. We purchase groceries every day for breakfast and lunches, and we often we send care packages home with kids because there’s nothing at home at night. The success of the program is immeasurable. Parents of students coming to the school for the first time already know about Richie’s Café and take comfort that there will be food to eat for their children.

I have said it many times before and will say it again – MAZON’s donors are the real heroes here. They are the ones that support our program unconditionally every year. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!

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