FEEDING OUR CHILDREN: Barren County Reads and Feeds mobile bus route

Published: May. 16, 2019 at 11:43 AM CDT
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In our continuing coverage of "Feeding our Children" series, we now head over to Barren County and check out their Barren County Reads & Feeds program.

A school bus isn't something you typically see on the road during the summer, but in Barren County you'll see this one running five days a week, twice a day starting May 22.

However, it's not picking up or dropping off kids, it's delivering food, and then some.

"One in five children eat their last meal at school every day. So imagine how hungry you are at night just from one night to the next day," said CheyAnne Fant, Director of Nutrition and Community Services for Barren County Schools.

The big red bus is a part of Barren County Reads and Feeds program.

"This summer we have about 32 spots that we're going to visit and so students can come get food for breakfast and lunch off of these mobile feeding routes," said Fant.

Barren County has been feeding our children for 25 years, and this red bus on the road for four of them. They're even getting an additional bus this summer which will allow them to go farther out into the county.

Fant says last summer alone they provided 67,000 meals for children.

"Over the summer months parents aren't getting a raise, but they're expected to feed their children where they've been subsidized with free breakfast and lunch all year," she added.

The bus isn't the only thing colored red. Red bags also fill the inside of the bus filled with weekend food to send home with the children on Fridays.

"We'll do taco meals, spaghetti meals, a roast -- anything that you would put on your table we're gonna put on their table," said Sonya Davis, Community Education for Barren County Schools.

As the wheels on this bus go round and round all summer long, the wheels inside the brains of our children can continue going round as well, thanks to another aspect of this program.

"Typically, 62 percent who live in low income housing have zero books in their home," said Fant.

Through books donated from the community, and volunteers who read to the children, all these elements are feeding the minds of our future generation.

"All of the books here are free and can be taken by anyone who gets on our bus," said Fant.

While continuing to feed the mouths and minds our children is critical, there's also something less tangible this program offers.

"Then you go out and you see kids that just want love, they just want love. It's good to be able to give it," said Angie Riddle, bus driver for Barren County Reads and Feeds.

Furthermore, it's the combination of food, books and unconditional love that epitomizes the magic school bus.

"This is one thing we can come together on: people need food, children need food," said Anne Bruce, Co-minister of First Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Glasgow.

Barren County Reads and Feeds is funded through donations and community partners. ​A list of stops and times can be seen below:

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