Cafeteria on wheels: ‘Sunshine Bus’ feeds hungry kids for free this summer

Local News

When school is out, some children go hungry. Did you know, just texting a phone number could help a child get a free meal? 

Local districts want to make sure every child is fed this summer. A school bus in Goochland County was transformed into a rolling school cafeteria. “I just asked my boss if I could turn it into a food truck and he said roll with it,” Lisa Landrum, Goochland County’s supervisor of school nutrition, said.”It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it.”

She and her team will be serving free meals on what they call the “Sunshine Bus” to kids under 18-years-old on Monday through Friday until the beginning of August. The bus will stop at six different church parking lots in the Goochland area, but won’t just feed those in within the county. They’ll give a free meal to any child who stops by. The school district is reimbursed for the meal costs by the federal government.

Landrum said about a third of Goochland students need help finding a meal during the summer months. She said a mother of five children’s story has already made the hard work worth it. “She got kind of teary eyed and said ‘I’m going through some really hard times right now, thank you’. She cried, we cried.” 

Those 18 and older can also buy one of the meals for just $3. 

In a service provided by the U.S. Department of Education, anyone can text “FOOD” to 877877 to find a free meal closest to you.

“We want them to know there’s a resource out there,” Donna Johnson, Petersburg City Schools supervisor of nutrition, said. The city has been a sponsor of the program for four years.

“I just hope the community takes advantage of the opportunity that’s out there. Our kids will get nutritious meals during the summer break,” she said. 

In Chesterfield, meals will be provided to all children without charge. Meals will be provided on a first come, first serve basis, at the sites and times as follows: 

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