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Hopewell bus program makes sure kids on summer break are fed

HOPEWELL, Va. -- Most students are excited to be out of class on summer break, but this time of year can be a struggle for children who rely on school to get their meals.

School leaders in Hopewell have come up with a unique way to help these families in need.

An old school bus was transformed into a very large food truck; there is no cooking on board, but the food being delivered meets all the nutritional requirements. Most importantly it helps fill empty stomachs.

Flo hands out meals

Monday through Thursday, Flo and Angie hit the road in their converted school bus. Each day they make four stops, open up the window and prepare to greet hungry children.

While the city of Hopewell has participated in the past in a summer feeding program, it’s the food truck that is unique in distributing the food. The state program is using federal funds to pay for the food. The food truck averages about 225 meals per day.

"Today we have teriyaki chicken, with rice, broccoli, we have fresh fruit, and milk and juice and we have grilled cheese sandwiches,” explained Flo Moore, assistant food services manager. “That is a very healthy, nutritious meal.”

For the children, it's more than just food.

This meal may be the only one that some kids have access to.

“I think it's really good they do this for the community because a lot of children, they don't get to eat healthy meals,” said one participant.

Parents said their children love it, and the program has multiple benefits.

Another plus is that for the first time, the food is coming into the community.

"We know there are a lot of kids who are home at summer or with a relative maybe, that don't have transportation to get to the nearest feeding site, but that need to have that healthy meal is still there, so with the mobile food truck option, the schools have come up with a now they've been able to meet that need,” said Aaron Reidmiller, Hopewell Director of Recreation & Parks.

The bus will run through August 24.