Yellow Cat Cafe host Madison STEAM first graders for Christmas at the Cat

NOW: Yellow Cat Cafe host Madison STEAM first graders for Christmas at the Cat

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Stacey Glassburn Wilson has always been one to spread smiles at her diner, Yellow Cat Café. However, after hearing a story from a close friend about one little girl not having school items, Stacey realized she wanted to reach more than just her usual customers.   

“She had no idea that there are children in our community that do not always have food or a place to sleep, personal care items, things that they need and I think it caught them off guard,” says Wilson. “I grew up in South Bend. I did not have a lot but I was never hungry”   

For three years, Yellow Cat Café has opened their doors to the first graders at Madison STEAM Academy for Christmas at the Cat. The diner serves them lunch, and a whole lot more! Festivities first start with some Christmas cookie decorating.   Then, a visit with Santa, and of course, some singing!  

But the staff at Yellow Cat Café and volunteers want kids to feel cared for even beyond Christmas at the Cat.   

“Our children are growing up afraid of everyone that is a stranger, not knowing what it is like for the community to just give them a big hug, and I feel like the kids need that,” says Wilson.  “I guarantee a lot of kids do not know their mailman, who delivers their paper, all of them who knew they cared about you and you had a relationship with them. I do not think we will get back to being a kind community if we cannot teach our kids that and we can show our kids we care" 

Each kid is given a gift bag full of personal care items, a uniform shirt, school supplies, snacks, toys, cookie decorating kits, hot chocolate and multiple items that they can give to their friends or family, too.  The large totes are to be another sign that people are thinking of them, and their families this Christmas.   

“Just knowing other people care more than just us at Madison it is really good it is just another positive for them to see and feel,” says Amanda Choinacky, Principal Madison STEAM Academy.    

For Yellow Cat Café, they plan to continue being there for the children in this community.    

“I had a girl pull me aside and say I wish you were my mom because I would have food everyday, and it breaks my heart that kids think about the fact that they are hungry or kids,” says Wilson. “Think about how they might not get to see Santa another time. The first year we did this there were a number of children who have never eaten in a sit down restaurant. We all take that for granted and for one of these little kids to say I have never done this before, or I have never met Santa for us to do the best we can to make that not part of their reality is the best part of the day.”   

Learn how to visit the Yellow Cat Cafe here. 

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