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Enjoy a Hunger-Free Summer!

June 12, 2017

Discover where to find free meals for kids and teens this summer in Nashville. 

As a children's librarian, I always love my job. But on Wednesday, May 31st, I really loved my job. 

We here at the Madison Branch Library teamed up with the Second Harvest Food Bank that morning to kick off their Hunger-Free Summer initiative. The plan was to have our usual preschool storytime (featuring special guest Mizz KT!) and then invite everyone to stay for lunch. Maybe we would get the Puppet Truck to come! Maybe some news reporters would come. Second Harvest could send out the press release and see. Our hopes were humbly modest.

The morning conspired to be an extremely lucky one. Mizz KT arrived, chipper as usual and ready to rock (the show that day was a Three Little Pigs rock opera and yes, it was everything you hoped it would be). Second Harvest would be coming shortly to serve lunch (taco boats, yum!) and we were ready to go. 

We opened the story room doors and several families were already waiting. Then more arrived...then more...then even more, until the room was PACKED with people! Mizz KT had a dynamite crowd to work with. I asked several families if they knew about lunch afterwards and for most, that news was just a happy accident. Sometimes the story time gods smile upon you. :) 

The families enjoyed a fabulous rock opera story time; meanwhile, the news was here. And not just one news truck, but two! The Second Harvest staff spread the word about their Hunger-Free summer as the meal was set up. Taco boats for all! And the puppet truck arrived to set up their stage. Story time ended and I announced the fabulous taco lunch and then ushered everyone over to our meeting room where they lined up for a delicious meal. They were all so excited for this special treat! 

Once everyone enjoyed their hot meal, we pulled back the dividers in our meeting room to reveal the Puppet Truck all set and ready to go! The children clamored to get a front row seat to the NPL Puppet Truck rendition of "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," adapted from the story by Mark Twain. It was an amazing show, as usual. I'll admit it, readers: I may have teared up a little. Seriously, a well-done stage production just gets me and this one did not disappoint. 

But really, I teared up because I'm a big softie and because I was tired from running around, making sure everything was going off without a hitch, expounding the virtues of signing up for the summer challenge and just doing everything we librarians do (which is everything all at once on repeat). It was a satisfied kind of tired, the best kind. And the best part was knowing that everyone went home with a full stomach. 

The library is happy to partner with Second Harvest in the goal of having a hunger-free summer. We here at the Madison Branch Library are serving free lunch to kids and teens every Monday-Thursday, 12:00 to 1:00 pm, through the end of July. And we're not the only location! Here's a list of every other location in the city where kids and teens can expect a nutritious and completely free lunch thanks to community partnerships.

So come on down! There's enough for everyone.

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Lisa Bubert is a children's librarian specializing in early childhood development, literacy and school readiness. She is a professional storyteller, story timer, and writer. Her favorite color is red. Hank the Cowdog is her hero.


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