Summer hunger driven away by Lakota’s mobile lunches

It’s a school bus that drives away summer-time hunger for some Lakota students.

This day saw the specially modified bus carrying meals make its regular stop at the Countryside Village mobile home community in Liberty Twp., and hundreds of children enjoyed a free, nutritional lunch.

For the second consecutive year Lakota is experimenting with a mobile summer lunch program, which there has expanded to using two buses that carry hot lunches, sandwiches, fruit and vegetables to needy families during summer break.

ExploreMORE: Lakota continues mobile summer food program

Lakota was among the first in the region to try the summer mobile lunch program — funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — and as Countryside parent Beth Ann Dabbelt watches her daughter munch on her lunch, her appreciation is clear.

Lakota provided more than 15,000 lunches last summer.

“There are lots of people in this community who are low income and they need the service,” said Dabbelt. “It’s very important to have this here and we are very graciously lucky.”

ExploreMORE: School cafeteria inspections reveal flaws, historic trend

Lakota’s two food buses make eight stops each week day at designated locations in the poorer neighborhoods of Liberty and West Chester townships that comprise the Butler County school system.

Almost 20 percent of Lakota’s 16,500 students come from families whose annual incomes are low enough to qualify their children for free and reduced breakfast and lunch meals during the school year.

Lakota’s Acting Superintendent Robb Vogelmann said the program is essential to the wider school community.

“We know that there are areas within our district where youth are doing without convenient, nutritious meals during the summer break. In fact, about 20 percent of all Lakota students are eligible for and benefit from free and reduced lunches during the school year. That’s more than 3,300 students who we know are at risk of not getting adequate food over the summer - and that’s why we’re proud to be part of this program,” said Vogelmann.

ExploreMORE: Businesses to participate in food fight for a cause

“The buses allow us to take the summer food program into the neighborhoods, reaching kids who might otherwise not have been able to participate due to lack of transportation. This isn’t a luxury program, as we know that the meals offered are for some of these kids the most robust meal that get that day,” he said.

For more eligibility requirements and details on the eight Lakota community lunch sites and times, call 513-644-1163.

ExploreEDUCATION NEWS: Michael D. Clark’s Facebook page includes the latest in local, national education trends

About the Author