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Fredericksburg schools arrange summer lunches

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A big, red food truck will roll into Fredericksburg soon as part of a summer feeding program provided by Fredericksburg schools.

City schools’ food service director Brian Kiernan wants to get more kids fed, especially during the summer months.

He had the idea about a year ago and worked with the school division’s chief financial officer, David Baker, to get it off the ground.

“My job is to ensure the children get fed the best way we can feed them and we thought about what we could do outside school,” Kiernan said.

He worked with Rolling Restaurants, a local company that designs food trucks, to make one for the project.

The idea really got rolling in May and the truck will make its first journey on July 14.

The summer feeding program is run by the Virginia Department of Health, unlike the school breakfast and lunch program, which is run by the Department of Education.

The truck will make three stops Monday through Friday for six weeks.

Kiernan said he talked to people around the community to find out which spots would be best. It had to be places he could park the truck and the kids could get to it safely. It also had to be places with buildings, so the kids could eat inside.

Kiernan decided to give each location about 45 minutes and schedule travel time in between each stop.

He expects to give out 400 or 500 meals total, or about 200 per stop. He scheduled time to stop back at James Monroe High School in between the first and second stops to reload, if necessary.

The truck will depart the high school at about 10:15 a.m. and get to the first stop, at Bragg Hill Family Life Center at about 10:45.

The truck will stay there and serve until about 11:30 a.m.

Then, if it needs to, it can stop at James Monroe High to reload.

Then it will make its way over to the Mayfield Civic Association from 12:15 to 1 p.m.

Finally, it will stop at the Hazel Hill Complex from 1:30 to 2 p.m.

All the food will be prepared at the high school by the cafeteria staff.

The meals will be the same ones the pupils receive in the cafeteria at school, but in a to-go format.

The meals will each have a grain, a protein, a fruit, vegetable or both, and milk.

Kiernan said it’s a meal, not snack items.

Some meals will be hot and some will be cold, there will be vegetarian options, hummus and pre-made salads.

Any child up to the age of 18 is welcome to the free meal—not just those on free and reduced-price lunches.

The truck will have three workers, including the driver.

Kiernan has worked out an efficient system for getting the meals made, packaged and put on the truck to be distributed.

Each stop will also have volunteers to assist with the distribution.

He’s expecting the program to be wildly successful.

“I have a gut feeling we will have one heck of a busy summer,” he said.

“This is what it’s about —more kids are eating,” he said.

The truck was formerly used as a commercial vendor truck and is being transformed into the food truck.

All the equipment inside the truck will be new.

Later, Kiernan will look into using the food truck for other things, such as the Farmers Market at Hurkamp Park, but first he wants to get through this summer.

Robyn Sidersky: 540/374-5413; rsidersky@freelancestar.com

 

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