Cafeteria On Wheels Feeds Even More Students Over Summer Months

After a successful pilot program last year, Alachua County Schools in Gainesville (FL) has added a food truck to their free summer meals program, bringing delicious options to neighborhoods in need over the summer months.

A new food truck in Alachua County Schools (FL) is traveling to feed more students over the summer months. Staff is preparing to use the “On Point Food Truck” at the district’s high schools in the fall.

The three additional neighborhood stops will serve about 150 children who would otherwise go without these meals over the summer. All children under 18 years old are eligible for free summer lunch, but even adults have shown an interest and are buying from the enticing food truck as well, said Rowe.

“The response has been tremendous from students,” she said. “The smell when the chef is cooking those onions and peppers on the grill is so amazing. The public is so happy that we have been able to increase access to healthy meals over the summer months. A lot of the students we’re reaching now are home with their older siblings while their parents are at work; now they have access to healthier lunches throughout the summer.”

Students have the option of six chef suggested entrees  or they can customize with build-your-own menu choices such as noodle bowls, rice bowls and nachos as well as exciting flat bread combinations, including vegetarian options.

Daily favorites have included chicken alfredo, grilled chicken with a cheesy alfredo sauce with sautéed green peppers and fresh tomato over whole grain pasta, or the “emperor’s gift”, seasoned black beans, diced green peppers and grilled onions with a sesame ginger sauce over rice. Other healthy menu choices include chicken piazollo, meat tornado, nacho viva, cheesesteak gripper, sesame beef noodle, spaghetti bomb, cheeseburger and chef salad. All options fit within school nutrition guidelines, providing delicious and freshly made meals for students. All meals also come with a side vegetable, fruit and a choice of milk, as they would throughout the school year.

The truck is aptly named the On Point Food Truck because of the ability for students to find its location through a full list on its website and a Facebook page showing where the truck is currently parked. Asch Phoenix Design Firm, owned by Ernesto Asch and Liberty Phoenix, created the logo and exterior design of the On Point Food Truck. The logo depicts a GPS pin with a bite taken out of it, apropos of a traveling food truck. Words describing delicious and nutritious food and the names of Alachua County high schools are written on the outside of the truck.18893248_813799685437612_8364331914232993301_n

After the summer, the On Point Food Truck will rotate between six high schools, providing more options to the district’s older students. The food truck has already received a lot of interest from high school students, who are anxiously awaiting its arrival in the fall.

“This will be a great way to have students try new foods, do some taste testing and maybe get some new items added to the cafeteria menus,” said Rowe. “A menu will rotate weekly, crafted by our awesome new Food Truck Chef, Kevin Stevens.”

Chef Stevens has been with the district throughout the food truck planning process, bringing his experience from a country club in South Florida, as well as attending nearby food truck festivals for inspiration.

The On Point Food Truck is a new program helping to increase students’ access to healthy meals, but there is another program being tested this summer. In addition to the squeeze bottles of sriracha mayonaise and sesame ginger sauce provided, students can also use The Flavor Lab Flavor Station to boost their meals. This station allows students to experiment with new flavors and tastes, without adding unnecessary sodium to their meals.

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