For many needy students in the valley, school lunch is sometimes the only meal they eat that day.
McAllen ISD has several feeding sites during the summer months, but said this year is a little bit different, instead of kids coming to them for food, the district is bringing the meals to hungry children.
This big yellow bus parked on 23rd street and Iris in McAllen is not for transportation, it TMs a cafeteria on wheels.
One of the obstacles that we found with McAllen ISD kids was their inability to get to our feeding sites. So even though we have a lot of feeding sites, we really identified, along with our transportation director, using buses to serve 14 areas of McAllen, said McAllen ISD Food Services Director Alexandra Molina
She told Action4 News that this is one way to ensure that children go home with their tummies full. With six bus routes, they feed about 300 kids daily.
"It doesn TMt seem like a lot, but these 300 kids have no other source of breakfast and lunch meals," she explained.
Any child under 18 is welcome to come enjoy a hot and freshly prepared meal. On this particular menu-chicken, beans, and rice.
"They have been packaged about an hour and a half ago, maintained hot and the milk is cold, and they are disposed of at the end of the day," said Molina.
Molina said students eat on the air-conditioned bus so that the food temperatures can be regulated and children are kept out of the hot sun. These meals also comply with USDA guidelines, which means the district will be reimbursed for the cost of these nutritious meals and will relieve local taxpayers from having to foot the bill. Molina explains the buses are strategically placed in areas where there is a greater need and so far, the lunches have been very successful.
"Request of a concerned citizen and we'll add more where we identify pockets where there is a need," said Molina.
Parents we spoke to told us thankful for these free meals and some were brought to tears. They said the food helps ease their already dire financial situation.
This summer meal program runs through august 15th.Here are the bus stop locations:Padre Vida Apartments"7:45-8:30a & 11:15-noonOld Thigpen Elementary"8:00-8:45a & 11:15-noonNavarro Elementary"8:00-8:45a & 11:15-noon20th and Japonica"7:45-8:15a & 11:30-noonEvergreen Apartments"8:00-8:45a & 11:15-noon12th Primrose"8:30-9:00a & 12:15-12:45p23rd & Iris"9:00-9:30a & 12:15-1:00pIglesia Christiana"9:00-9:30a & 12:30-1:00pCrocket Elementary"9:00-9:30a & 12:15-1:00pMcAllen Palm City Park "9:15-9:45a & 12:30-1:15pOur Savior Lutheran"9:15-9:45a & 1:00-1:30p