As soon as the school day is over, children who live at the Post Oak East apartments in Euless cannot wait to see Miss Kim.
Four days a week, Kimberly Preston, known as Miss Kim to the kids, offers the school children a home-cooked meal from the heart.
“That’s my mission. When I was growing up my mom always made sure I had a meal, but I know that’s not everybody’s story,” said Preston.
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For two years, Preston has hosted this after-school program. It’s expanded to serve as many as 100 kids from kindergarten to high school.
She helps prepare the food and serves it for free all to show these kids someone cares.
“I try to be a friend, a mom, whatever I can be to the kids,” said Preston. “It’s important because you never know what kids are going home to.”
Preston knows some of the kids may not receive another meal until their next school day so she tries to focus on healthy food the kids will like.
This year, Preston brought in a licensed therapist to teach the kids healthy social skills.
“It’s perfect. The kids trust her. [She’s] not a parent. [She’s] not a school official. [She’s] just Miss Kim,” said therapist Cassandra Rowe.
Sixth grader Jamayla comes by just to say hello and sometimes for advice.
“I feel bad for people who don’t have Miss Kim in their life,” said Jamayla. “You need someone like that.”
For others, she provides a safe place to hang out and do homework.
“It’s good because now I feel like I’m at home,” said third grader Darlene.
A wife and mother to three sons, Preston calls the kids in the after-school program her children, too. And she wants to be there when others cannot.
“This is the time where kids can stay out of trouble. When they get out of school they have a lot of free time, but where they have a place to come, to get a meal and receive encouragement,” said Preston. “I know I’m impacting them because they keep coming back and I know it’s not just for the food.”
Preston is now reimbursed for the food costs through a government grant, but hosts fundraisers to cover the cost of plates, utensils and travel. A retired caterer helps her prepare the meals and Preston encourages other people to join her in setting up similar after-school programs across North Texas.