Florida lunch bus program expands for summer feeding

Two additional buses will be feeding kids this summer.

June 17—More than 600 of these meals were served last year on the Gulfside Lunch Bus, which is managed by Pasco Schools, in Holiday Fla. The bus offers free food to any child 18 and under with no preregistration or paperwork required. The bus itself is a modified district school bus that comes complete with cafe-style tables.

"With 85 percent of our students qualified for free and reduced lunches, we want to make sure that these kids get fed when they're not in school," said Chris Clayton, principal of Gulfside Elementary School. "Every little bit helps."

Originally intended as a convenient extension of the Gulfside summer feeding program, in which kids eat complimentary lunches and breakfasts in the school cafeteria, the lunch bus program boasts several new components this year including two additional buses serving around the area.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

Ideas and Innovation
hybrid worker

Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
cheeseburger

We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
salad bowl

We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

FSD Resources