Filling the Summer Meal Gap through Mobile Food Trucks
One in six children in our community is at risk of hunger. They’re especially vulnerable during the summer months when school meals aren’t available. But with the help from the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), kids in our community have easier access to free, fresh and wholesome meals this summer. The Minneapolis Public School District provides these meals through a mobile food truck—now in its third year.
“We know there are areas of the city where food isn’t readily available or accessible to kids. Our goal is to reach all kids who are hungry, regardless of neighborhood or location,” said Michele Carroll, Culinary and Nutrition Services Business Manager for Minneapolis Public School District. “We’re reaching kids that may not otherwise eat during the summer months.”
The food truck operates Monday through Friday at three different locations during the summer—Sumner Library and North Regional Library in North Minneapolis and Jackson Square Park in Northeast Minneapolis.
“We want our summer meal sites to be both a safe place to go and a safe place to eat. The sites become more than just meals for kids—they also become an exercise and learning opportunity because they can play and swim in the park, or read at the library. They feel safe at these sites, and they’re being nourished,” said Michele.
This year, the Minneapolis Public School District received a $5,000 grant from Second Harvest Heartland to provide different kinds of food to build interest in the program. Taco salads are now being offered, in addition to the standard option of sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and milk.
“The need has always been there, but the knowledge of the program is increasing. We’re now getting a lot of repeat kids—they know a meal is going to be here,” said Michele.
In 2013, they served 150 meals per day, and they anticipate serving 225 meals per day this summer.
“I can feel the appreciation from the kids and their families. When you have food, the kids come to you. They want to be near you, you can see it on their faces. It is such a rewarding feeling,” said Michele.
Sincere thanks to the Minneapolis Public School District for its innovative approach to help provide growing kids with the nutrition they need to live full, healthy lives!