WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio (WCMH) – While the end of the school year can be an exciting time, it can also be nerve-wracking for some families, as many students count on the schools for not only education, but for some of their meals.
Washington Court House City Schools said more families have been needing extra help.
For the last several summers, the district has been using a school bus turned food delivery bus to make sure children don’t go hungry. For the first time, a truck is now part of that program as well.
During the school year, Jo-Lynn VanRhoden wears a lot of different hats for Washington Court House City Schools. When summer hits, she’s head cook for The Big Blue Bus.
“This program is like my heart, that’s why I spend it all summer long,” she said.
When school gets out for the summer, the bus starts up. The team on it gives meals to hundres of students at several stops around the district, all for free.
“We have a lot of children in our community that depend on us to have meals for them in the summertime when they don’t have school in,” VanRhoden said.
The bus has been running since 2019. The program is made possible through a federal grant and community partners.
The Little Blue Truck is now part of the fleet, too. Superintendent Tom Bailey said it’ll allow the district to get meals to more kids who live in Fayette County, but outside of Washington Court House.
“We know for a fact kids come to school hungry every day,” Bailey said. “We know the living conditions of some of the students, that’s not just here in WCH, that’s Anywhere USA, so to make sure all of our kids are getting a meal is wonderful.”
According to Bailey, about 55% of students in the district are on free or reduced meals. He and VanRhoden said there’s an increased need for the summer program.
Wednesday was the first day for this summer’s distribution, and VanRhoden said they served more students Wednesday than any single day all of last year.
“It’s very well needed,” VanRhoden said. “Prices…I mean, parents work full-time jobs, but still have trouble feeding their kids.”