(DANVILLE, Virginia) — A Virginia school district has purchased a food truck to serve free lunches to students over the summer.
Danville Public Schools bought the food truck, which costs $42,000, because of its “desire to feed our children as much as we can,” Phillip Gardner, Danville Public Schools director of child nutrition, told ABC News.
“We’ve got the realistic notion that during the summer, students may not be getting the nutrition they need,” Gardner said.
The school district announced last month that it will be serving lunch from the truck at two locations, Monday through Thursday until Aug. 1. Students will be provided the meal for free, while non-students can purchase one for $3.65.
The first week, about 600 meals were served out of the truck, feeding an average of 140 to 160 students per day, Gardner said.
The district has been providing summer meals to students since 2014, Gardner said. In the past, students could go to three different schools in the district to receive free meals. The food truck is now the fourth location, Gardner said.
In addition, the school district delivers meals to participating sites across the community, such as the Boys & Girls Club, bible groups, and other programs, Gardner said.
Danville Public Schools Superintendent Stanley Jones said incorporating the food truck into the summer feeding program was the “right thing to do to make sure children in our community have access to meals.”
“As a public school system, we have to meet the needs of our students,” Jones told ABC News. “We can’t meet their educational needs without meeting other needs.”
Jones described school administrators as “excited” about the food truck because it will make meals more accessible to students in need.
The food truck will also be used during the school year to provide an “unorthodox” way for students to get lunch beyond just using the cafeteria line, Gardner said. Plans call for the truck to rotate among the schools within the district.
In addition, the truck is equipped with Wi-Fi so it can be used for educational purposes, Jones said.
During the school year, 20.2 million students nationwide receive a free lunch each day as part of the National School Lunch Program, according to the School Nutrition Association. Another 1.8 million receive a reduced-priced meal at 40 cents.
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