HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (March 30, 2017) – Slated to roll out this summer, the district’s “Meals On the Bus” mobile feeding site has already inspired community organizations to work together to feed students in need.
Throughout the fall and spring, the vision of HCPS Child Nutrition Supervisor Amanda Stansbury, MHS, RD/LDN has been taking shape, thanks to efforts from the HCPS Transportation Department, the HCPS Child Nutrition Department, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Correction Enterprises, the graphic design and carpentry classes at North Henderson High, Printville in Hendersonville, the Community Foundation of Henderson County, and Gillilandscaping and Grading.
A retired school bus was purchased earlier in the school year with a donation from Gillilandscaping and Grading, and a $10,000 grant awarded by the Community Foundation of Henderson County is funding the retrofitting of the bus’ interior – which will accommodate up to 15 students seated on benches at tabletops along either side of the bus.
Removal of the bus’ original seating was completed by the HCPS Transportation Department at the district’s bus garage, and North Henderson High’s carpentry class installed the plywood floor base in the bus. Stansbury and Director of Child Nutrition Robert Rolfe taped the windows of the bus’ interior, so the Transportation Department could paint the inside walls a clean blue.
The tabletops and benches lining the bus were installed by a crew from the NCDPS’ Correction Enterprises, an organization that aids in the rehabilitating inmates by teaching them job skills that are easily transferable to the private sector upon release. North Henderson High’s carpentry class will be installing the floor tiles, and the HCPS Transportation Department will paint the bus’ exterior white in preparation for the “Meals On the Bus” logo wrap donated and applied by Printville.
The design for the bus was created by North Henderson High student Christian Martinez-Maya, who won a $100 scholarship from the Child Nutrition Department for his winning entry in the design contest Stansbury pitched to graphic design students.
“It’s truly been a community effort,” said Stansbury, who added that the “Meals On the Bus” program will continue to be a community-guided initiative.
The “Meals On the Bus” will be a mobile addition to the three summer public feeding sites at King Creek, Edneyville Community Center, and Patton Park, as well as 28 closed feeding sites at each elementary school and youth service organizations, which HCPS already operates through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to provide free lunches to children ages two to 18.
“Our impoverished kids are spread throughout our area,” said Matt Gruebmeyer, HCPS director of Title I and homeless education services. “When we try to find a place to feed children, it’s difficult because they’re spread around.”
The mobile food site will allow HCPS to reach students where they are, Stansbury said. Using existing HCPS bus routes, the Child Nutrition Department will work with the Transportation Department each summer to establish routes that will take meals to students in need five days a week during the summer months.
In the future, the “Meals On the Bus” vehicle could also be utilized by partnering organizations to provide students with a mobile library book check-out, health screenings and dental checks.
About the Community Foundation of Henderson County
The Community Foundation of Henderson County, founded in 1982, supports charitable programs in the greater Henderson County area. In the past fiscal year, more than $4.42 million in new charitable contributions were made to the Foundation, which awarded more than $2.96 million in grants and scholarships.