TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District’s summer food service program will hit the road this June to take free meals to neighborhoods in need.
The district offers free meals to children ages 18 and under each year during the summer at various school sites, and this year, for the first time, those meals will also be served using mobile food vans at locations across Tupelo.
The summer food service program is funded by the USDA.
Lynne Rogers, director of TPSD’s food services department, said the district will still offer meals at designated school sites, but she wanted to try to reach more students by making meals available through the mobile unit.
With several Tupelo school campuses undergoing renovations this summer, Rogers said the district was limited to fewer school sites for serving summer meals.
“We’re just trying to make sure those communities have access where we know the schools can’t open to serve this summer,” Rogers said.
Rogers said the district chose mobile sites close to low-income neighborhoods and places where children would be participating in summer programs and activities.
“It’s a new way to handle summer meals for children,” Rogers said. “We tried to pick places where we knew we had people in need, but we also wanted to make it available for anyone who was living in that community who needed a meal as well.”
The meals will be cooked and packaged at the school sites – likely either Lawndale Elementary or Pierce Street Elementary, according to Rogers – then loaded up and transported to designated mobile sites.
Rogers said each van will be staffed by two food services employees who will distribute meals and monitor the food to ensure it stays at a safe temperature while the vans are parked at each site.
“We’ve got a lot of measures in place to make sure the food is safe,” Rogers said.
Lunches will be served in the PALS parking lot behind the Link Center, near Rankin Elementary, June 6-30 from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m.
Vans at the Northside Boys and Girls Club, Haven Acres Boys and Girls Club, Robins Field will all serve breakfast June 6-30. A van at the North Green Street Housing Authority recreational center will serve breakfast May 30-June 30.
At Northside, meals can be picked up from 8:30 a.m. until 9:15 a.m. The Haven Acres van will serve breakfast from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. Children can pick up breakfast at the Robins Field site from 9:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. and from 8 a.m. until 8:20 a.m. at the North Green Housing Authority site.
All mobile meals will be served “to-go.”
Lawndale and Pierce Street elementary schools, along with Tupelo High School, will serve as school sites for the food program this summer.
Pierce Street will serve breakfast from 7:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. and lunch from 10:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. May 30-June 30.
At Lawndale, breakfast will be served from 8-9 a.m. and lunch will be served from 10:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. June 6-30.
Children can receive breakfast at THS from 8-9:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. June 6-July 14, except for the week of July 4.