September 10, 2019
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FOOD TRUCK FEEDS STUDENTS AND
SENIORS OVER SUMMER
SAN JOSE – The Mountain View Whisman School District,
in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank and the County of Santa Clara, had
a successful summer driving to parks and schools to provide free hot meals to
students and seniors in their new food truck.
“Food insecurity didn’t take a holiday just because it was summer
vacation,” said Joe Simitian, President of the Santa Clara County Board of
Supervisors. “In fact, without a school lunch program readily available, summer
would have been particularly challenging for some of our families.”
“Mountain View is a city with both significant affluence, but also
pockets of need,” said Simitian, who proposed County funding for the food truck
program last year. “Because of this economic diversity it’s often difficult for
folks in need to access services, and for service providers to reach them.
That’s what this new food truck can do — bring the food to the kids and
families who need it most.”
The mobile food program is available to any child, which removes some
of the stigma or fear around “signing up.” Adults can also pay for meals, and
free meals are available for seniors at the Rengstorff Park site.
“Hey, if we want to help kids and their families, then we need to take
our services out into the community,” Simitian said. “Parks, schools – these
are community gathering places where we can help not just these kids, but their
families as well.”
While five out of ten school sites in the Mountain
View Whisman School District have over 40% of students eligible for free
and reduced meals, students still struggle to access food outside of school
hours, and school staff estimate that some families are reluctant to sign up
for reduced-price meal programs. One of those locations was Theuerkauf
Elementary School, where during summer school sessions students were fed meals.
Simitian also noted that “Senior meal programs typically have a
decline in participation over the summer because grandparents are often home
caring for their grandkids. That’s why I’m particularly pleased with the
creative collaboration with the County’s senior nutrition program. It lets us
do even more.”
“The surest way to make certain people in need get the food and
services they need is to bring the food and services to them,” said Simitian.
“This effort brings those essential programs to the folks who need them most,
in places they can get to.”
In 2017 the district partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to expand
their normal summer school food program by piloting a summer food program at
local parks and the local library.
With the support of the County and the addition of the new food truck,
the District was able to serve 30,198 meals during the summer break and is
hoping to serve an additional 450,000 meals during the school year.
Now that summer is over, the Mountain View Whisman School District is using
the “Food for Thought Truck” to engage the community in activities such as
nutrition classes, special school meals, and additional special events focusing
on healthy meals.
“I’m sure most people don’t think of food trucks and County services
as an obvious pair,” said Simitian. “But really, it makes all the sense in the