Feds pay to deliver free lunches and books to students using repurposed school bus

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A Kentucky school will use a repurposed school bus to deliver free meals to students and families this summer, marking the first time meals will be served from a bus in the area.

As part of the Hardin County School District’s federally funded summer child nutrition program, the bus will stop at four locations, where free meals will be offered to anyone younger than 18, and adults can eat lunch for $3. Meals will also be served at “feeding sites,” including North Hardin High School, College View Education Center and Radcliff Ele­mentary School.

With the exception of July 4, meals will be available every day June 5 through July 27, and served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Josey Crew, child nutrition director for HCS, confirmed that the district served approximately 25,000 meals last summer. The “school bus” delivery program is new this year, with other school districts piloting mobile meal programs, The News-Enterprise reported.

“It’s an opportunity for students who can’t make it to one of our feeding sites,” HCS Su­per­intendent Teresa Morgan said at a school board meeting last week.

The bus, which the district has named the Cruisin’ Cafe, will make stops at the four designated locations — apartment complexes and mobile home parks — each day, and remain at each site for 30 minutes.

HCS Chief Opera­tions Officer John Stith told board members that the Crusin’ Cafe is intended to serve the students where they are.

“Some students aren’t able to make it to one of our school sites,” Stith said.

Students from the Hardin County Schools Early College and Career Center assisted in converting the school bus into the Cruisin’ Cafe, which will also offer free books to families.

“We’re providing a real service for many children who, otherwise, would not be eating,” officials wrote in a decision paper. “We’re also providing jobs for some child nutrition employees.”

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