Many districts all across the country have started up their Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP) to help feed children in their communities during the summer months. However, even with the best intentions, some SFSPs are not as successful as they could be simply because the people they’re trying to serve can’t make it to the feeding site.
Some districts are aiming to break down these transportation barriers by incorporating mobile food trucks (or buses) into their summer feeding program. With mobile vehicles, the district can travel to locations most convenient for participants. Places that are common gathering places for children in the summer, like local parks or apartment complexes, can now be utilized as summer feeding sites. By traveling to locations where kids frequent, the district allows those kids the opportunity for a free meal, all while increasing the district’s meal participation numbers. As I’m sure you know, higher participation numbers equals more reimbursement dollars, which (hopefully) helps your school nutrition program finish in the black at the end of the year.
One of the best shining examples of taking a SFSP mobile is Murfreesboro City Schools in Tennessee. Lead by Sandy Scheele, Murfreesboro created their aptly named CHOW bus (CHOW stands for Combating Hunger On Wheels) that travels to various locations across town to make sure no Murfreesboro child goes hungry this summer.
Sandy and her team have been garnered a lot of praise for going the extra mile for their community. They’ve been the focus of several news articles and featured in an edition of SNA SmartBrief. You can even see their story featured on NBC Nightly News here!
Way to go, Murfreesboro!
Hopefully, the success of their program and others like it across the country can light a spark within other districts, so we can all help make summer meals more accessible to the children in our communities.