Along with many other programs we do at the Huss Project, our summer lunch program — a partnership with Three Rivers Schools — draws a sea of kids from our neighborhood who come each and every day to eat lunch. It is a rather simple program; our duties involve providing a safe space for the kids to eat their lunch and also a way to recycle, trash, compost, or share their uneaten food with others. This summer, we served 1,778 lunches!
Beyond logistics, though, there is something almost sacred about it. By sacred, I don’t mean incredibly holy or even that it is something that cannot be touched. Instead, I mean that it is beautiful, and that the fellowship around the table where we share time with kids and parents and grandparents is something deeply fulfilling. By sacred, I am referring to the something deep down in the core of all of us that begs to be reached, something that is engaged when we experience the wonderful, joy-filled laughter of 60 kids eating together. I am referring to the many “thank yous” we hear as the kids get their lunch each day. I am referring to the abundance of food that we found each day in the share box that always somehow managed to get eaten the next day or taken by a kid who wanted more carrots. I am referring to the families that came every day to lunch and to many other summer programming events at Huss, allowing us the opportunity to become better neighbors. And I am referring to the partnerships we share with the school district, neighbors, local churches, and other volunteers who make the lunch program possible.
The summer lunch program was an incredible success this year. And while we love to count numbers (see above), it is about more than that. It is about the ways kids are learning to talk with one another, to solve problems with each other, to compost, recycle, and share. It is about seeing the joy they have when they find out that the lunch is pizza slices or chicken nuggets. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that we had a blast this summer with our lunch program. We were blessed to join with kids each day as lunches were eaten, stories were shared, and — definitely — something sacred happened.