Monica (not her real name) came to lunch at a food site with her two boys. She comes every day. Her oldest son is four years old and the youngest is two. For Monica, the summer meal program has been more than food for her and her boys. Two years ago, Monica and her husband were addicted to drugs and lost custody of their boys. Two months ago, Monica and her husband were reunited with their boys after finishing rehab.
Monica’s story flowed out when I asked her about the lunch program. The past two months has been a learning time for Monica, a time to learn how to be a mom again. Lunch is part of their schedule. The youngest boy wakes up around 6 am and Monica no longer gets to sleep-in as late as she wants; she has to be up for her boys. By 11 am, Monica gets the boys ready to go, grabs a diaper bag and stroller and walks to the lunch. She has learned to pack a diaper bag, something she never did before. She and her boys enjoy lunch together with both boys eating all the vegetables. Monica saves all three trays for her oldest to clean-up because he likes to do it, he feels accomplished and ready to begin preschool this fall. He carried each tray away with a huge smile plastered ear to ear. They follow-up lunch with play time out on the playground.
Monica loves the program and the time she gets to spend with her boys now that she is home. “It’s good to feel things now.” For Monica, this is an exciting summer with the boys, waking-up, walking, eating and playing together. She couldn’t think of any suggestions for improving the program that’s helping her build a stable life.