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A campaign is helping youth not go hungry with the help of local restaurants

A Black man wearing a dark t-shirt and jeans gestures the peace sign and smiles while standing at a diner counter in a restaurant next to a poster that says "All Youth Can Eat."
Mayowa Aina
/
KNKX
Kwabi Amoah-Forson stands next to a poster promoting his All Youth Can Eat campaign at Southern Kitchen in Tacoma on Tuesday, July 2, 2024.

Kwabi Amoah-Forson is known around Tacoma as a local humanitarian. He gathered and gave out thousands of pairs of socks to people experiencing homelessness and thousands of books to kids and adults. His current venture: getting meals to hungry students.

“It's a mission to attempt to address hunger anywhere,” Amoah-Forson said. “From July 1 to September 1, on every single day of the week, there's a restaurant where youth can eat for free.”

The campaign is called All Youth Can Eat. This is the third year Amoah-Forson is running it, and this year it’s grown to include Tacoma and Seattle and expanded to include college students.

Restaurants have fed more than 3000 students over the past two summers, according to Amoah-Forson. This year, 13 different restaurants across the region are participating.

Gloria Martin owns Southern Kitchen, right across from Hilltop Heritage Middle School. She said they nearly ran out of food on the first day of the campaign.

“We had a line out the door today. So that tells you, you know, how effective he is,” said Martin.

Many schools and nonprofits run summer food programs for students who rely on school for a hot meal at least once a day. One in six children in Washington is facing hunger according to the organization Feeding America. Amoah-Forson said this is a problem that can be solved within the community.

“We have enough power, we have enough money, in the private sector to feed everyone.”

Amoah-Forson hopes to expand the campaign to more cities and begin serving senior citizens as well.

“We need innovations and inventions that are going to transcend humanity,” Amoah-Forson said. “It really behooves us to invest in those who are disenfranchised for the greater good of ourselves. And the world.”

Find out more about participating restaurant dates, times, and eligibility at https://www.thepeacebus.org/.

Produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Mayowa Aina covers cost-of-living and affordability issues in Western Washington. She focuses on how people do (or don't) make ends meet, impacts on residents' earning potential and proposed solutions for supporting people living at the margins of our community. Get in touch with her by emailing maina@knkx.org.