Education

Food Bank Outfits School Buses to Give Poor, Rural Children Summer Meals

By Diette Courrégé Casey — July 10, 2013 1 min read

Many poor, rural children rely on schools for the majority of their meals, so some communities are finding creative ways to fill that void when schools close for summer.

The Washington Post has a heart-wrenching story about one rural Tennessee food bank that turned four school buses into a meal delivery service.

We wrote about similar efforts in Connecticut and Indiana last year. This latest article goes a step further by describing the seriousness of the problem and the poverty in which students live.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program gives free meals to kids in areas where a majority of them are low-income. Many students don’t go to those sites for a myriad of reasons, ranging from transportation to the stigma attached to the free meal.

The food bank buses must follow a number of federal rules. Food must be kept at certain temperatures, and students must eat their meal on the bus. Food is given only to students under 18 unless they have a disability, and they can’t take any home, according to the story.

The story shows how some high-poverty students live during the summer, and the details—one dinner consisted of a buffet of “corn chips, Doritos, bread, leftover doughnuts, Airheads candy, and Dr Pepper"—bring to life the tough reality some children face.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.