Lunch Lizard meal program adds another truck, new routes
District 51 students will soon be ditching their books for swimsuits.
And while it's safe to assume most kids live for summer, there are some who rely on school for daily meals.
In District 51, nearly half of students rely on their school for daily meals. When summer comes around, some are left without a source of food. But thanks to programs like Kids Aid, which provides weekend backpacks for students, and the summer Lunch Lizard mobile meal truck program, the district helps to make sure no one goes hungry.
"One in 3 kids struggle with only one meal a day," said Dan Sharp, the District 51 nutritionist.
Those are numbers that hit close to home in District 51.
"It's a pretty significant amount. Right now we feed about 10,000 a day. About half of those students are at or near the poverty level of income," said Sharp. "The Lunch Lizard summer meal program is designed to help provide nutrition and meals to students during the summer time when typically might not be getting the nutrition they need."
The Lunch Lizard program has added another truck and more routes for the 2017 summer.
"It's a total of 17 different stops between 3 different trucks," said Sharp. "Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables each day, along with milk and a grain option, along with some main dish.”
The trucks serve lunches to anyone under the age of 18 Monday through Friday.
Lunch Lizard routes tend to go to parks and spots where kids will be, and they aim for areas struggling economically.
The Lunch Lizard program is a natural complement to the Kids Aid backpack programs, which helps kids with meals on the weekends.
"We bring the food directly to the kids," said Marybeth Luedtke, a spokesperson for Kids Aid. "We make sure we're there at the end of the week to pass out our weekend bags of food to the kids that are there.”
Last summer, more than 3,000 bags were given out through Kids Aid. The program is designed to help students and children that are struggling with food during summer months.
"They're born into situations and they have no choice around that,” said Luedtke. “It's vital for us to take care of our children."