Fresh and Wholesome Meals for Children this Summer through Hopkins Mobile Food Truck
More than 328,500 students in Minnesota rely on free or reduced-priced lunches through the National School Meal Program. When summer arrives, only 15 percent of these kids access a Summer Food Service Program—leaving many kids without regular meals and nutrition during the summer months. Glen Ritter and Barb Mechura of the Hopkins Public School District are working on changing that.
The Hopkins Mobile Food Truck was the brain-child of Mechura after she read an article about similar food service programs on the east coast. Thanks to a grant provided by Second Harvest Heartland, the truck is in its third year of operation.
In the first year, the Hopkins Mobile Food Truck served over 2,770 lunches to the Hopkins community. This year is forecasted to be their largest yet, with 5,500 lunches to be provided through the truck.
“We want to be active and get out into the community,” says Ritter. “This meal program brings the community together.”
The food truck provides all its meals for free, encouraging everyone in the community to enjoy the made-from-scratch dishes. The menu is on a three-week rotation, working in hot meals and locally-sourced ingredients.
“We get our vegetables from Riverbend Farm, an organic farm in Delano that also provides seedlings for our school gardens,” says Ritter. “Some of the produce we use for the food truck and in the schools comes from the school garden, which is tended to by the students of the community.”