A lot to ask from beans and potatoes?

Four children and their caregiver staff have just set down at the table to begin the evening meal in a Village group home.  Once everyone is sitting and quiet a selected child will lead the prayer of thanks for the food.  Meals in the Childhelp Alice C Tyler Village group homes are served family style.  Bowls of food and pitchers of drink are placed in the center of the table.  The food is passed around from child to child with each person taking their portion.  The rule is that ‘no one eats until everyone is served’.  During the meal the children and staff talk about their day or an upcoming event.  Some like to tell jokes.   Meal time at the Village is meant to be very relaxing and sustaining for the children. 

Meals and food are a contentious area for some children who arrive at the Village.   Many have not have had enough to eat or lacked a peaceful environment in which to enjoy the food in the past or they may have had too much of non healthy food which has affected the way they feel.    Our Village dietitian and dietary staff make certain that the children receive the appropriate amount of nutrition.   The combination of proper nutrition and plenty of exercise that they receive at the Village puts many of the children in the healthiest state of their lives. 

Meal time is sacred time at the Village.  The act of eating, socializing and thanksgiving feed the physical, emotional and spiritual hunger of the children and connects them to a larger human community.   It is a lot to ask from beans and potatoes but the simple act of sharing a meal with others is a necessary part of the healing environment of the Village.  This is another way that a Childhelp Village helps hurting children begin to heal.           

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