March 29, 2020 Facilities

School Buses, Administrators Deliver Meals To Kids While Schools Are Closed

SCCSD Green Food Service Truck used for meal programs

A green school bus pulls up to an elementary school in Sioux City. It’s a quarter past noon. Kids and teens line up at the bus to get a sack with breakfast and lunch.

“There’s one and there’s two,” said a food service worker as she passed out bags. “Have a good day guys!”

Sioux City Community School District has a fleet of these colorful buses as well as mini buses and food service trucks. The vehicles pull up to schools or even mobile home parks, and hang around for up to an hour so kids ages 1 through 18 can come get food.

“We’re here to supply the need and obviously the need is there,” said Rich Luze, the food service director for the Sioux City School District. “It’s great that people are taking advantage of it so it makes it worthwhile doing it. It’s good to see that we’re making a difference.”

Iowa got a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do a meal program similar to what it does during the summer. Normally with the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, kids and teens would stay on-site to eat. It encourages them to socialize. Now, things are a little different. With the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa, social distancing is now the norm, so kids get their meals and go home to eat them.

“They’re only allowed to approach the bus, get a meal, and take it off-site to practice the social distancing,” Luze said.

In some communities, school buses run routes through neighborhoods, making meal deliveries. In the central Iowa city of Marshalltown, a food service worker hands out meal bags from a bus. It’s Friday, so kids can get lunches and breakfasts to hold them over through Sunday.

View the full article by Katie Peikes on Iowa Public Radio.