Meal Delivery: Using Buses, Vans, Food Trucks and More…
Yellow school buses or vans can be perfect for distributing meals throughout a community, either directly to homes or at stops where kids and families can meet the bus or van to pick up meals. Many school districts have used buses and vans to transport meals during past summers and during the pandemic. Many are still using these vehicles to deliver food, especially the “last mile” to assure the food reaches children in some of the hard-to-reach areas.
- Federal and state leaders have encouraged school nutrition and transportation teams to work together. A strong relationship between the school district’s leadership, nutrition and transportation teams is crucial for getting support to use district-owned vehicles and coordinating the effort.
- When beginning a new effort to meet kids at bus stops with meals, working with teachers and principals to set expectations is important – so that students participating in remote learning can step away from their virtual classrooms to meet the bus without fear of being considered absent.
- For school districts already taking meals to bus stops, the next step could be increasing resources to move to door-to-door deliveries, which eliminate the need for kids to walk to bus stops and wait during the school day – and can extend reach in rural areas.
- Some school districts now have their own food trucks that deliver meals, often focusing on specific apartment complexes or areas where housing is clustered and a food truck can serve many students at once.
- Yellow school buses are a familiar and trusted sight.
- Allows educators, administrators, and the media the chance to ride along and witness the great work the school district nutrition team is doing.
- Who doesn’t love a food truck, such a popular new way of eating in our culture today?
See It In Action
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ “CMS Eats at Home” program used 40 bus stops as drop-off points to deliver meal bundles, starting in the 2020 spring. https://www.cms.k12.nc.us/News/Pages/School-Nutrition-Services-introduces-CMS-Eats-at-Home-program.aspx.
Bladen County Schools used GPS bus data to monitor meal delivery routes and then revise the public information to have more accurate times and locations. Learn more.
Create appealing graphics and post to social media when meals will be delivered, as Edgecombe County Schools does here: https://www.facebook.com/EdgecombeCountyPublicSchools/posts/3131026313665729.
Keep in mind the need to get the word out FAST when the weather changes and delivery schedules need to be changed such as Gates County Schools posted at https://www.facebook.com/gatescountyschools/photos/a.861621970559388/3678124862242404/
Learn about the Wake County Public School System’s “Big Bus Food Truck” at https://www.wcpss.net/food
No Kid Hungry offers an extensive resource on general best practices for serving mobile meals.
Checklist: How To Get Started
- Make plans with the school district superintendent/leadership team and transportation team and explore budget options.
- Work with teachers and principals to keep them informed about how meal deliveries will work and the importance of making sure students are fed.
- Determine if using bus stops or a door-to-door delivery model works better.
- Prepare equipment needs: Packaging for meals, insulated bags for transporting meals safely, etc.
- Determine if delivering single hot meals, meal bundles for multiple days, or both works best.
- Consider partnerships with local organizations that may have buses or vans that can help transport and deliver meals, such as churches, boys and girls clubs, and Ys.
How Can Carolina Hunger Initiative Help?
Let’s get started! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org