JCPS Bus Stop Cafes to deliver free meals to children in need th - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS Bus Stop Cafes to deliver free meals to children in need this summer

JCPS Bus Stop Cafes to deliver free meals to children in need this summer

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Most kids enjoy a break from school during the summer -- but for thousands of children in our community, it also means there's one critical thing missing.

They know they'll find it on board a special school bus rolling into their neighborhoods: a free meal. Two "Bus Stop Cafes" will roll around the city delivering free meals to children in need. It's something thousands of them get for free every day at school.

"There's definitely a need in our community," said Julia Bausch, director of JCPS community and nutrition services. "Hunger does not take a break during the summer."

The customized buses will make stops every weekday to deliver lunch where there's a need.

Click HERE for information on the program.

"This year we've expanded to 15 stops...a number of locations around the community where, again, children live and play," Bausch said.

JCPS workers feed about 4,000 kids a day but know they're missing thousands more.

"It is a lot of kids," Bausch said. "In Jefferson County, 67 percent of our kids are eligible for the free or reduced meal benefits, so that means on a typical school day, I'm serving approximately 40,000 students breakfast and 64,000 students lunch."

"People don't realize the need of our students whenever they're out of school," said Julie Martin, the nutrition manager at Seneca High School. "They don't know sometimes where they're going to get that breakfast and lunch, so that's where we come in, and we're blessed that we have the opportunity to go into where they actually live and they play and we're able to serve them that nutritional meal."

JCPS fills that void and more, making the bus stops a fun place not only to eat, but to play and even learn. The kids got a firsthand lesson on where their milk comes from.

The bus is filling more than empty stomachs for children who might be missing more than a healthy meal.

"It's a wonderful feeling," Martin said. "I'm humbled. This is my third year doing this and it's a blessing to be able to help the kids, and also not only feed them lunch, but also be there for them if they need anything: a hug or smile or just someone caring -- and that's what we do."

The buses serve anyone 18 and under free meals through July -- and Louisville Metro Community Services is opening other sites, offering free breakfast and lunch.

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