At the state summer school meeting in November, Orange County Public Schools’ (OCPS) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) department was awarded the silver level of the 2015 Summer BreakSpot Challenge Award for the Innovation in Operation category. The district delivered nutritious meals to low-income areas during the summer months by retrofitting a school bus with food service equipment.
During the summer of 2015, the OCPS mobile meals bus made stops at two Orange County Public Libraries every Monday through Friday. Approximately 11,708 students were served lunches at the Hiawassee Branch Library and the South Trail Branch Library throughout the 10-week program. Both locations serve children where the majority of school-aged children are eligible to receive reduced cost meals or meals at no charge during the school year.
The bus lunch times were connected to library programming so students could participate in fun and creative activities and learn about library resources as they enjoyed their meals. “This is the kind of community partnership we had envisioned when we developed the bus,” Lora Gilbert, senior director of the FNS program, says. “There are still more children we need to reach, and we are so glad to have the libraries welcome the meals program. We would like to continue to find safe, educational programs that are available to children to serve meals.”