Summer Essay: Lunch Truck

Faithe Colas shares a Milwaukee story about working with the Feed The Kids summer lunch program.

By Faithe Colas, as told to Maureen Post

During my first year, I was passing out lunches one beautiful warm day on the Northwest Side. Children – some with parents, some without – were lined up. Some came with smiles, some without smiles. All said, “Thank you.” I started passing out lunches.

Photo via The Salvation Army - Milwaukee County.
Photo via The Salvation Army – Milwaukee County.

On this particular day, I got so choked up with what I was witnessing. I couldn’t reply with my usual, “You’re welcome.” I was just moved to a speechless nod of my head with a return smile.

I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I thought I’d give myself some relief and take photographs. As I began to take pictures, I noticed a small boy running in my direction. I followed him through the lens of my camera. He was shirtless, wearing tennis shoes and pants.

He arrived at the Feed The Kids van. I could hardly see him through the camera because my eyes were filled with tears. Here’s a child running at high speed, not to play outside, not for the ice cream or popcorn truck but for a meal. He asked for lunch for himself and his little brother. What a huge responsibility this 5-year-old had, coming to get a meal for himself and his 3-year-old brother.

The tears in my eyes were now running down my cheeks. I’m still emotionally moved at the level of hunger in many neighborhoods around our city. We’re all just so thankful for the people and businesses that donate, volunteer and support the Feed The Kids Summer Meals program. Bright futures need full stomachs.

Editor’s note: A longtime employee at the Salvation Army, Colas rides along on the Feed The Kids summer lunch truck. Feed The Kids makes 24 stops and serves more than 2,300 lunches a day for 10 weeks in the summer. It runs three routes.

“Lunch Truck” is party of the essay collection, “True Stories,” which appears in the 2016 City Guide issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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