When school is out for summer, that doesn’t mean the free meals have to stop coming! The Danville public school system in Virginia purchased a food truck in order to serve free meals to students — and non-students — in need throughout the summer season.
The purchase of the $42,000 food truck came from a “desire to feed our children as much as we can,” Phillip Gardner, Danville Public Schools director of child nutrition, told ABC News.
The food truck served lunch at two different locations through Aug. 1. District students ate for free and non-students were able to purchase a meal for just $3.65, according to ABC News.
In June, the school district posted a monthly menu on Twitter. The food truck dished out everything from chicken wings to teriyaki beef dippers to cheeseburgers:
Food Truck menu for the month of June. Students eat free! Non-students eat for $3.65! pic.twitter.com/6ORG89QMdH
— Danville VA Schools (@DanvilleVASch) June 4, 2019
By early June, the food truck had already handed out around 600 meals, Gardner told WSET News. Parents and children seemed to appreciate having it as an option.
“I have four children in my home and so it really helps — it helps that grocery bill,” Amada Reaves, a parent who brought her kids to the truck, told WSET. “They are really good lunches and I think it’s a really awesome program.”
One student told the TV station, “It’s actually pretty good. We usually come here, like, every day.” Sounds like a success!
Virginia’s No Kid Hungry Organization, which also works to ensure children have nutritious meals during the summer months, had a chance to stop by the food truck earlier this summer. While there, the truck dispensed 100 meals, according to a Facebook post documenting the visit:
ABC News said the food truck marks the fourth area location where students could get lunch over the summer. The school district also served meals at three different school locations while school was not in session. This has been an option for students since 2014, so the food truck made a novel addition to meal access for the area.
There are even plans in the works for this truck to be used during the school year, rotating from school to school and serving as an “unorthodox” way for kids to get lunch, Gardner explained to ABC News.
“Our goal is to feed our kids, so whatever we can do to increase that throughout the year, the summer, the school year, we’re all for it,” Gardner told WSET.
Other school districts around the country also found unique ways to ensure students were fed during the summer months.
For example, Elkhart Community Schools in Indiana partnered with a local food-rescue nonprofit, Cultivate, to create take-home meals out of leftover food from cafeterias that would otherwise become food waste. That way, students had something to eat on the weekends when the school year was not in session.
One in six kids in America don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to Feeding America. So it is great to see that school districts like these made major efforts to provide food for the children in their areas — even the ones who aren’t their own students.