It has served more than 214,000 meals in its first five years and the Hillsboro City Schools Tomahawk Food Truck Summer Food Program will be back at it again this year, serving lunches weekdays at 18 different locations, plus breakfast at Hillsboro High School.
In addition to a new vehicle that will be unveiled at the program’s kick-off event on May 27 at the central office (former high school) location off West Main Street, there will be one other notable change to the program this year. With the COVID-19 pandemic more under control, children will need to be present when the meal is delivered and will need to eat on location, according to the program’s United State Department of Agriculture guidelines.
Hillsboro Food Service Director Jessica Walker said the program is obviously necessary since 55 percent of the school district’s students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches this school year.
“There’s a need. We definitely see it every day,” Walker said. “And with gas and food prices rising, we felt this was not the year to not do it.”
The kick-off event will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 27 and the community is invited to take part. Meals will be served to all ages due to the many local businesses and organizations that have made donations. In addition, “The Juice Box”, the program’s second vehicle, will be unveiled that day.
“We are hopeful the kick-off event will promote outreach for our service along with our other community advocates like you,” Walker said in a letter to local organizations. “I will be looking for organizations to set up booths/tables for outreach awareness to the community, as well as plan fun activities for the kids like games and bounce houses.”
She said anyone interested can call her at 937-393-5838, email email@example.com or contact her through the program’s Facebook page.
Funding for The Juice Box was awarded to the school district last year through the No Child Hungry program.
Walker said the program could use help from anyone wanting to volunteer or help monitor the crowds and its daily stops.
The program runs weekdays May 31 to Aug. 5, with a break July 4-8 when no meals will be served.
Breakfast will be served those days from 8-10 a.m, only at the high school. Unlike last year, the program will not be serving breakfast with lunch this year.
Following are locations where one of the two trucks will stop:
10:30 a.m. — Central office
10:30 a.m. — Hillsboro Estates (Blairs)
10:45 a.m. — Hi-land Terrace
11 a.m. — Peace Lutheran Church
11:30 a.m. — Red Barn (North Shore Drive)
11:30 a.m. — Cedarwood
11:45 a.m. — Highland Holiday (left)
12 noon — Highland Holiday B (right)
12 noon — Hillsboro High School
12 noon — Liberty Park
12:30 p.m. — Greater Life Assembly
1 p.m. — Marshall Community Center
1:15 p.m. — Fire station
2 p.m. — Rocky Fork North Beach
2 p.m. — Highland County Fairgrounds
2:30 p.m. — Hillsboro Swim Club
3 p.m. — New Market Township Building
From June 6-10, lunches will also be served at 11 a.m. at the Hillsboro Church of Christ, and from July 25-29 lunches will be served at 11 a.m. at a Boy Scouts camp at KAMP Dovetail at the Rocky Fork State Park Campgrounds.
In 2017, the program’s first year, 16,000 meals were served in 44 days. In 2018, 22,00o-plus meals were served in 50 days. In 2019, 25,000-plus meals were served in 49 days. In 2020, 94,400 meals were served in 93 days because the school year was shortened due to COVID-19. In 2021, 52,098 meals were served in 43 days, but that was to 26,049 kids because both breakfast and lunch were provided.
The meals are available to all children age 18 and under.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.