Chapter 14 is an important chapter in Bud, Not Buddy because it shows Bud in a situation where he isn't trying only to survive. He doesn't have to be on guard and try to watch his entire surroundings for danger. Bud is in a situation where he finally believes that he has multiple people around him that he can trust and who will watch out for him, and he begins to physically and emotionally thrive rather than only survive.
In the previous chapters, Bud was more often than not in situations where he was trying to physically survive. Readers were reading about Bud simply trying to find food, water, and shelter for himself. We are repeatedly told about how hungry he was. For Bud, a minimum caloric intake was a blessing. Chapter 14 puts Bud in a completely different situation. Not only is he able to eat, but he is able to stuff himself. Bud even gets to indulge in dessert. The amount of food and the nutritional value in the meal will allow Bud's body to begin thriving rather than merely keeping his heart and lungs working:
It was the best meal I'd ever had, and when it was done Miss Tyla brought me a dessert she called "On the House." It was a piece of warm sweet potato pie with some white fluffy stuff called whipped cream swopped all over the top of it.
During chapter 14, Bud finds himself in an environment where he doesn't have to lie about his situation. He doesn't have to hide the marks on his body. He freely shows them to Miss Thomas and explains how he received the bites and bruises. For the first time in a long time, Bud is surrounded by people that he trusts enough to show his vulnerabilities, weak spots, scars, etc. He is no longer clamping down on his emotions for survival purposes.
Letting Miss Thomas see his wounds is one indication that Bud's emotional state is being allowed to thrive, but it's Bud's breakdown to tears at the end of the chapter that really shows readers that Bud believes he is finally in a good place. The response from Miss Thomas confirms that Bud is in a place that will allow him to thrive. She comforts him and tells him it is okay to cry. She makes it known that they are there for him in that moment and in future moments. Bud isn't on the street searching for his next meal. He isn't searching for someone or anyone to take him in and care for him. Bud has found that. He has finally found a family. He's home, and he can thrive there:
I wasn't sure if it was her lips or her hand, but something whispered to me in a language that I didn't have any trouble understanding, it said. "Go ahead and cry. Bud, you're home."