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Brandywine School District to feed kids with food bus this summer

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
The "Brandydine" food bus serves Concord High School students lunch as an end-of-year treat

A blue school bus emblazoned with a smiling carrot and carton of milk will be driving around Brandywine School District this summer.

It’s the district’s newest solution to feeding kids when school’s out—a school bus retrofitted as a food truck.


It comes complete with refrigeration, a grill and a pizza oven. Student artist Hannah Chillingworth is behind the bus’ cartoon exterior, and school district mechanics retrofitted the interior. It’s funded by the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.

Brandywine School District’s Supervisor of School Nutrition, Pam Gouge, says with nearly half the district’s students qualifying for free or reduced lunch, many rely on meals provided by the district to eat during the summer.


“The Food Bank a few years ago pulled out of … some of the areas in Brandywine School District,” she said. “So the Department of Education asked us to step up. And, you know what, this is what we’re doing now, twelve months a year. We’re just feeding kids.”

Credit Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
The interior of the old school bus has been retrofitted into a kitchen.



Until three years ago, lunches for students during the summer were available at select schools in the district.

“Our story started way back when we opened our buildings during the summertime to feed these children, and they weren’t coming. They didn’t have transportation to get here.”

Credit Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Student artist Hannah Chillingworth and Superintendent Mark Holodick pose in front of the bus

The past two summers, the district’s summer food program has been run out of a van, according to Gouge. She says it merely transported food to these pick-up spots, but didn’t have any cooking capacity

Starting June 11th, the “Brandydine” food bus will visit three community centers every day, which Gouge says were chosen for their proximity to the most food-insecure students.

According to the district, any child ages 3 through 18— not just Brandywine students—can get a free meal from the bus during the summer.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.