The food truck is a somewhat iconic image in the history of The Nashville Food Project. Since our earliest days, we’ve been driving these trucks all over the city, delivering meals to those who need them. Before the hot meals, before the gardens, we had the trucks. Nearly every new volunteer or visitor we meet asks us “I’ve seen the food trucks, but where do they go? Who are these meals shared with?”
The way we share our meals truly is what makes The Nashville Food Project “us.” All of our meals are shared in collaboration with community partners that support the various communities we feed, and right now we are working with over 20 organizations to share hot, healthy meals and snacks in our city. As each partner is different, so is each meal service. Just looking at two of our newest partners, you can see the varied ways our meals are shared to support our community:
You’ve probably heard that we’ve partnered with St. Luke’s Community House to open a second kitchen and provide daily meals for their preschool and senior mobile meals program, but you may not have heard that we’re also partnering with a St. Luke’s partner at St. Luke’s.
Preston Taylor Ministries is the newest partner at St. Luke’s, facilitating the United Way Family Resource Center’s after-school and summer programming. As a site for the SPARK program (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids), programming has an enhanced focus on promoting an active lifestyle. Twice each week, we provide healthy snacks for 85 kids. These snacks, along with the SPARK programming, are helping kids develop a healthier lifestyle, which has been shown to improve academic performance and behavior. We will soon begin a once monthly sit-down meals open to all Preston Taylor Ministries families and the surrounding neighborhood to develop stronger community and reduce the isolation so often accompanying poverty.
The Family Center prevents child abuse and neglect by empowering parents to raise happy, healthy children. The Nurturing Home Program serves Families First families in Davidson County with both group and in-home parenting sessions.
The Nashville Food Project recently began providing a weekly family meal to support a Nurturing Home group session. Each week, a table topic accompanies the meal to introduce the evening’s session. For example, if Nurturing Home is covering Feelings and Building Empathy, the families begin the evening by sharing a meal and introducing themselves to the other group members and stating one feeling they had that day. This meal and discussion is helping to bring together participating children and parents for important support and sharing.
Here at The Nashville Food Project, we know that nothing brings people together and breaks down walls quite like a good meal. These new partners show just a couple of ways that that is happening every day in our city. Poverty is a cycle that requires more than just food to break, and these partners are helping us do that by providing valuable programming that betters the lives of all those who come together over our meals.