The Jacksonville North Pulaski School District is working to keep kids fed this summer with a spin on their summer feeding program now traveling on wheels.
The district's mobile unit started feeding children around the first of June for the first time when school let out for the summer.
About 75 to 100 children turn out per day.
“They're very hungry. They're excited when we pull up and are waiting for us,” said Lanella Jones, a district cafeteria manager.
When kids in Jacksonville see a big yellow school bus pull up in their neighborhood during the summer, they know what time it is!
“Talking to a lady just a while ago, she said her children look out the window everyday about 10:30 a.m. waiting for the bus to get here,” Clint Walker added, a Child Nutrition Director.
Jacksonville North Pulaski wants to their students to have full meals not just during the school year, but summer months too.
This year they’ve taken their efforts to the streets.
“We see a number of children here that have food insecurities. A lot of our children show up for breakfast in the morning, we feed about 72 percent of our children during the school year. So we know these children are hungry,” he said.
The district has been feeding children at the high school and local Boys and Girls Club for some time, but felt it important to meet families where they are.
Sack lunches are delivered to three different areas and feed about 100 kids a day.
“Today's menu is a barbeque sandwich, a side of coleslaw and potato smiles. They also have milk and a fruit cup,” said Walker.
Children receive healthy balanced meals and books too.
“We have several that were donated from other schools. We've been sticking them in the lunch bags, but some are too big so we just hand them out. They love them. Some even want two or three books and tell us which ones they like,” added Jones.
The district is feeding about 600 kids a day all together this summer.
If you've ever wondered if food insecurity is real, read the following numbers.
“Our high school is an open program. We feed about 200 to 250 children per day lunch. And we have a Boys and Girls Club where we feed about 120 to 150 per day,” Walker said.
Both the high school and Boys and Girls club in Jacksonville serve breakfast and lunch, the high school is open to anyone under 18.
There is no charge for meals or books provided on the mobile lunch bus route. Here is the schedule by neighborhood:
Lakeside Estates from 10:45 - 11:15 a.m.
Galloway Park from 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Willow Bend from 12:45 - 1:15 p.m.