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Free Summer Meals Program to Run June 6-July 12


                With Monday’s start to the free summer meals program for children 18 and under, Cleburne ISD is hoping to serve more participants at more locations with the addition of the Child Nutrition Meals on the Bus mobile diner.

                Free dine-in breakfast and lunch will be available at Irving Elementary and Cleburne High School Mondays-Thursdays through July 12. Breakfast service is 7:30-8:30 a.m. followed by lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

                The Meals on the Bus mobile diner will be on the road Mondays through Thursdays June 6-July 12, stopping at four designated rural locations within the school district’s boundaries. Children will board the bus, a refurbished 1987 GMC with added air conditioning and a 1950s style theme complete with booths, counters and stools, to enjoy lunch before the diner moves on to its next stop.

                “We collaborated with our Transportation Department in choosing the sites,” incoming Child Nutrition Director Stefanie McBroom said. “We wanted to use locations that would best reach and serve kids. Our bus drivers are on the road with students every day and gave us a lot of insight as to where we could have great impact. Parents have received information on our summer meals program, including the areas to be served by the mobile diner. We’re hoping to serve a lot of kids at both our school sites and with the Meals on the Bus.”

                Implementing a mobile diner has been a longtime dream and goal of Kim Chance, who is retiring as head of the CISD Child Nutrition Department following 18 years of service.

                “We have always designated two of our campuses as feeding sites during the summer,” Chance said. “A lot of our kids who live in rural areas of the district don’t have the transportation to get to them. I am excited to be taking lunch to kids, where they can step out of the heat onto an airconditioned bus—which is so different from the one they ride to school.”

                “If they need to wash their hands, we have a washing station,” Chance said. “In addition to serving lunch, we’ll be playing music and trivia games relating to healthy food choices and fun food facts. Everyone on our staff who is helping with the summer meals program wants to work on the mobile diner. We will have a two-person crew on board in addition to our bus driver. We’re going to create a rotating schedule to give everyone a chance to serve lunch on the bus.”

                When CISD Child Nutrition opened its own facility on North Ridgeway several years ago, Chance included a small serving area in the design—inspired by the diners of the 1950s. Space allowed for a staff training room along with a kitchen, in addition to offices and storage.

                Chance has expanded the use of the Child Nutrition offices in utilizing it as an additional summer meals site—with activities included. Accompanying the free lunch service are games—and a movie—shown in the training room. From July 5-28, Mondays through Thursdays, children can be dropped off for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with supervision provided by members of the Child Nutrition staff.

                “We want to meet the nutritional needs of as many children as we can in providing the free summer meals program,” Chance said. “Through the years, it has been so much fun watching children of all ages come in for lunch and stay to play board games or watch a movie, including some of the Disney classics from my childhood. I’m think it’s great we have had the opportunity to use our facilities in this way. In everything we do, we want our program to benefit the children we serve.”

                As Chance prepares for a new page in the menu of her life, she leaves behind a new standard in child nutrition services. Cleburne ISD is believed to be the only public school system in Texas with a mobile diner.