'Lunch Bus' serves healthy meals to Chicago-area children over summer break
BERWYN, Ill. - It is summer break and for most people that means fun. But for some kids, it could mean no lunch.
That is why the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) is launching the "Lunch Bus."
It’s summer, school’s out and kids get to be kids. All of that is great for children, except for those who depend on the free meals they get at school, which is where the Lunch Bus comes in.
"Everything is so expensive, so it’s fun if they give them a meal after school is over," said mother Leticia Salas. "It does help, yeah."
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The Lunch Bus pulled up in front of the Berwyn Township administration building right on schedule Monday morning. It’s one of seven daily suburban stops throughout the summer, including Cicero, Justice, Maywood, Dolton, Chicago Heights and Lansing.
The federally funded Child Nutrition Program is being operated by the Greater Chicago Food Depository, providing free boxed lunches for any child 18 and younger.
The goal of the program is to continue providing nutritious meals to kids who would normally be getting their meals through school.
"Research tells us that of every 100 students that receive a free school lunch meal, only 12 actually participate in a summer meal program," said Greater Chicago Food Depository spokesperson Man-Yee Lee. "So that’s what the Lunch Bus is trying to do. We are ensuring that kids remain nourished throughout the summer months."
And with food prices soaring, the GCFD expects the need for food to be even greater this summer.
"It’s expensive, inflation, especially now to try to buy vegetables or fruits and stuff," said Berwyn Township Supervisor David Avila. "These meals are great. They’re nutritious."
For now, the Lunch Bus is only serving in suburban areas but will begin in the city of Chicago after school ends later this month.