Nourished Kitchen, a community food and drink service that opened in October 2017, has been serving free meals for kids in Knoxville for about six months.
The children, ages 6 to 12, are fed breakfast by a volunteer chef and then served by their grandparents.
The company said the meals are free to Knoxville residents and have been a big success.
The food service started last week.
“The kids are just really happy,” said Stephanie Johnson, Nourishes Knoxville executive director.
“They have been really good about making new friends.
They have had a lot of fun.
They are really enjoying themselves.”
She said Nourishing Kitchen serves around 150 kids a day and plans to expand the program.
“We’ve always had a focus on giving kids a chance to feel more connected and to feel loved,” Johnson said.
“I think this is a huge step for us and we really feel the kids are really happy about it.”
Johnson said the program has helped the company’s bottom line.
“It has been very effective for us,” she said.
The Knoxville-based company started with five employees in a small restaurant in the mid-1990s, but now employs around 20 people, including five chefs.
“There is a lot more people in the community now,” said Andrew Darnell, Nurish Knoxville’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“People are more connected.”
Johnson described the program as a “huge success” and said she hopes it will spread across the state.
“This has been an incredible, huge success,” she added.
The initiative has been a huge success for Nurishes Knoxvillians.
“For our family, it has been great,” said Kaylin Tomsen, whose son attends the Nurished Kitchen.
“Our children really enjoy the food, they are very curious and we are always looking to get them back to their parents.”
The food is prepared fresh and then distributed to the community.
“As long as the kids know that their food is available and that they can get it, it is a great program,” Johnson added.
“And the kids really love it.”