3 tips for establishing a summer school-feeding program

School Nutrition Association president Julia Bauscher shares how she launched an initiative in her district near Louisville, Ky.

Published in FSD K-12 Spotlight

By 
Katie Fanuko, Associate Editor

As school lets out for the summer, districts nationwide grapple with the problem of helping underfed students when they’re not heading into a classroom everyday. To address the issue in her community of Jefferson County, Ky., Director of School and Community Nutrition Services Julia Bauscher worked with the district to launch a program in 2013 called the Bus Stop Café. Retrofitted school buses are used to bring meals to students via 15 locations throughout the community. Bauscher, this year’s president of the School Nutrition Association, shares some takeaways from her experience.

1. Get multiple stakeholders involved

The Bus Stop Café concept was a district-wide effort that came to fruition when the district’s transportation department donated a bus that was older but still fully functional. When no outside parties offered to retrofit the bus, the district’s maintenance department did the work. “The way that the departments and the district came together to make this a reality was wonderful,” Bauscher says.

This summer, the program is bringing the larger community into the fold. Local police and fire departments will be visiting the bus’ routes to host safety training sessions for students and their parents. Additionally, a local arts group plans to host art and crafts classes for students.

2. Be flexible with meal planning

While the district was prepared to feed school-aged children, they didn’t anticipate parents bringing toddlers to the bus stops and didn’t have age-appropriate food available. Bauscher asked her staff at the district’s central kitchen to create a meal fit for toddlers and was able to offer it the next day. “We had moms in tears because there was food available for their youngest children,” she says.

3.Go where the kids are

A school’s cafeteria kitchen may be available for a program, but kids may be unable to get there every day, especially in a rural area like Jefferson County. This was one of the reasons Bauscher’s district opted for a mobile program. “Being able to take meals on the road and serve them in their neighborhood, at the public pool or the river boat dock where they are playing helps us to ensure that they have access to meals when school is out,” Bauscher says.

The Bus Stop Café’s two vehicles travel separate routes throughout the community to ensure that a large swath of the community is covered. Each spring, Bauscher and the district meet with local partners like the Dare To Care Food Bank in Louisville, Ky. to determine which additional areas need a bus stop.

“Those types of efforts and collaboration is what helps us raise the profile of the program,” she says.
 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources