When was the last time you walked to your neighborhood school? Think about the route you would take, the shortest and safest way. How long would it take? Would you send your children that course on their own? Some ways to school are long and do not include sidewalks or crosswalks or may be in dangerous neighborhoods.
Many families in Colorado have no choice but to have their children walk to school through dangerous routes. The same paths taken to school are often the path to a free lunch with the Summer Food Service Program. When these routes contain areas without sidewalks or crosswalks, it becomes dangerous for children to participate in the summer food program. Often times, these children miss out because of their own or their parents’ fears of getting hurt going to the meal.
In Colorado Springs, Janine Russell of District 11 decided to change the way some summer meals are served after hearing of a successful program in New Mexico. In order to better serve the community, she decided it would be easier to move the food than the children. So, new this year, District 11 now delivers food to mobile sites. Food is prepared from scratch at the main district kitchen and then trucks take the food to the selected sites and set-up serving areas. Each truck visits three sites and serves at each site for approximately 30 minutes. The children who attend must eat the food within visibility of where the food is served.
While gas prices are high, the increase of children reached with healthy food is worth the price, as these mobile sites are filled with children who could not safely make it to school feeding sites without buses. Every day, 450 lunches are trucked out to children in these mobile sites. Over the summer, this will add up to more than 17,000 meals to end childhood hunger in Colorado Springs. Thank you for getting a new model program going in Colorado Springs, Janine and team (Melanie Oddo, Kathy Brickell and Terri