Schools Using Food Trucks to Reach Rural Kids on Summer Break

By Diette Courrégé Casey — May 31, 2012 1 min read
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Food trucks are the latest trend in the culinary world, and some school districts are using them to feed students on summer vacation.

National Public Radio had a great blog post about how many students don’t show up for meals provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program. The program gives free meals to kids in areas where a majority of kids are low-income.

The program only reaches a fraction of needy students, and federal officials say that’s because there aren’t enough feeding sites.

New Haven Public Schools in Connecticut appears to have been among the first to use a food truck to reach more students, and it’s inspired at least one rural community to do the same.

NPR found rural Fayette County, Ind., where many students couldn’t get to sites where meals were served. Transportation is a major issue for many rural communities, and the story says many parents couldn’t afford the gas to bring their children to centralized sites. About 65 percent of the district’s 3,900 students live in poverty.

This seems like a great idea to get more kids to participate, but budgets are tight in many rural districts and leave little room for the additional expense of a food truck. In New Haven, the district bought the truck with a $35,000 grant from the United Way.

Still, as the story points out, it does seem to address the stigma attached to the free meal and having to go to school to get it.

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