Mobile diners, filled with free food for kids, have been staged at three sites over the summer in areas where children may only have one meal a day otherwise.
The Metro Action Commission refurbished four school buses into makeshift lunch rooms. They're traveling to sites Monday to Friday at 501 Ben Allen Road in Nashville, Willow Park in Chesapeake, and Bakers Station in Antioch.
One in five children in Tennessee has been fighting hunger, and children at these three sites don't have access to three meals every day.
"I see a need here," said Marcia Sherrell, community manager at Cobblestone Corners and Ellington View apartments. "Children are going without food here. They basically have to fend for themselves."
Here's a tour of the Metro Action Youth Cafe on Wheels. Each bus can feed 120 kids per day. pic.twitter.com/BrDSGJLZww
— Kyle Horan (@KyleHoranNC5) June 7, 2017
The buses started running on Monday, but have already been serving close to 60 kids per day at each site.
"We know there are children in various locations in town that need nutritious meals," said Lisa McCady, spokesperson for Metropolitan Action Commission. "If you're in an apartment area where you can't get out, you're relying on chips and sodas and things like that that's not necessarily nutritious."
At the Ben Allen Road site, neighbors have been reportedly feeding kids chips who haven't been getting breakfast.
Wednesday's breakfast for kids was cereal, a graham cracker, juice, and milk. Lunch was a salad. McCrady said without these two meals, it's likely some of the kids wouldn't eat until dinner.
"When we go into communities like Chesapeake and here at Cobblestone, we see the desperation of some of the children and how their eyes light up when they see the buses. It's all worth it," she said.
Altogether there are 110 non-mobile summer food sites for kids in Nashville from Metropolitan Action Commission. A full list can be found here.
However, there have been a couple other sites with free food for kids. Metro Nashville Public Schools has a Summer Meals Program and Second Harvest Food Bank has another with 20 sites across Middle Tennessee.