MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KJCT)-- Alysha Packard is a lunch lady at Clifton Elementary. She says the students she feeds are like her children.
"I see them more often than I see my own kids for meals,” said Packard.
She wants to look after them during the school year and in the summer time, so every weekday morning she’s up early, packing lunches.
"While everybody is sleeping, I'm already in my truck and moving on,” said Packard.
She’s one of two Lunch Lizard food truck drivers, who cruises her route, handing food out for free.
Why spend the summer working, when she could be kicking back, enjoying her break? For, "Kids who don't really have the power to go out and do things for themselves."
The amount of kids who could be going hungry without this program is startling; more than half of District 51 students qualify for free or reduced lunches. That’s about 11,000 kids. But it’s hard to nail down an exact number. "In all honesty, that number is probably higher because we have a lot of families that won't ask for that help,” said Packard.
The Lunch Lizard’s offer a chameleon opportunity; no one knows who needs what, everyone just shows up for a picnic and games. "Even if you make it work the rest of the year but maybe this month is tight it doesn't matter, just come and get a free meal. And it's fun cause all their friends are there,” said Packard.
Any child under 18 gets a meal, no questions asked.
"You know some of their families are in a hard place or some of them are in foster care, there's just a lot of reasons they may not be getting what they need at home,” said Packard.
Instead of requirements and forms, you get an invitation, “If you have kids, it's just a free meal,” said Packard.