Ministry result

The fate of the ‘Lunch Box’ children’s feeding program in 2022 depends on the ministry’s ability to hire staff |

The Lunchbox Bus Summer Feeding program turns 16 this year and Rita Jones, program coordinator, reports that children may not be fed this year unless she is able to find workers to fill some essential roles to make run the program.

Jones said workers since COVID hit have been extremely hard to find.

The concept of using converted school buses in rural America was developed by Of One Accord Ministry and has been used as a best practice across the country.

The Lunchbox only delivers meals in the summer when students are not in school. Thanks to this unique concept, a renovated school bus becomes a mobile cafeteria with facing benches and a cafeteria table in between.

Six stations are on the bus accommodating 24 students at a time. The lunch box can typically make up to 6 stops per day, serving between 5 and 25 students at each stop. A second box lunch is sent to Church Hill and up to 1,000 meals per week can be served between the two locations.

Of One Accord, like other agencies, has suffered from a lack of people submitting applications, but Jones said summer is a time when kids come home from school and families struggle to provide meals. Jones also explained that the grant requires people to be hired and food distribution sites to be submitted and approved before Of One Accord is allowed to launch the program through the state.

In 2021, bus drivers were hired, but both had schedule changes preventing them from working in June. The state must get new staff approved before the program begins, which resulted in a month-long start-up delay last year. Jones says, “this results in the children not getting summer meals.”

Open positions this year include 1 cook for June, MF 8-2; Bus monitors, 1 for June and July, and another for July only, MF 9-2:30; a bus driver for July MF 9:30-3; a program monitor that will only operate the first week of June and the last week of July (8 days in total) from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For more information, please call Rita Jones at 921-8036 or come in person to complete an application.