Fine Dining Meal Showcases Manners, Etiquette For At-Risk Children

Wednesday, January 26th 2011, 11:00 pm
By: News 9

Rusty Surette, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Nearly 20 at-risk children were treated to a four-course meal with all the fixings, but there was a catch. The meal was a chance to show the kids proper table etiquette and how to behave and act in a fine dining situation.

"This is very different," said Oklahoma City student Tahj Lawrence. "I've seen enchiladas, but not like this."

The 12-year-old is one dozens of economically disadvantaged Oklahoma children who participate in an after school program called Kids Cafe. The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma sponsors it.

"We know that children need adequate nutrition to develop physically and mentally," said Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma Programs Director Paula Clayton. "This is the second fine-dining etiquette course we've had. It's served at tables with table clothes, 'real' napkins, silverware, glassware, candlelight and flowers."

Clayton said for some of the children, the only dining tables they sit at are those at fast food restaurants and school.

"For a few, they have no dining tables at all inside their homes," said Clayton.

That's why the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is hosting these fine dining meals. It's a chance to show children what to say, how to act and which utensils to use at a restaurant.

"I've learned how to eat soup without sipping and how to hold a glass the right way," said Lawrence. "I'm going to show my friends how to do this and rub it in their faces," he jokingly added.

Wednesday's meal was served at the Quayle United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. It's the second time the Food Bank has done this and the organization plans to do more in the near future.

The Regional Food Bank's "Kid Cafe" program is part of the Feeding America charity.