May 31—Getting kids to show up for the USDA's Summer Food Service Program isn't as easy as it looks. That's why Tim Cipriano, executive director of school food services for New Haven Public Schools is bringing the meal to them by rolling at a food truck.
Cipriano piloted the idea last August with a "bare-bones" setup, filling a truck with coolers and ice packs and visiting designated sites in neighborhoods where lots of children qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. The brightly painted truck handed out 17,000 meals in just 20 days.
This year Cipriano plans to serve 40,000 meals during July and August. The truck's now got a generator and electric refrigerators. He's serving basic bagged lunches for now —usually a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a carton of milk. But soon he hopes to add more trucks to serve hot meals, or even offer a walk-in truck with a salad bar like the ones that are popular with students at New Haven school cafeterias.
Cipriano was named one of FoodService Director's 20 Most Influential. Check out his profile in the June issue of FSD.