New food truck to serve summer meals to Travelers Rest kids

TRAVELERS REST, S.C. — A new food truck donated to Greenville County Schools was unveiled on Wednesday at Travelers Rest United Methodist Church.

At a cost of $65K, a group of Riley Fellows from the Riley Institute at Furman University made the donation, giving the school system its second food truck serving free, nutritionally balanced meals to children during the summer months.

“The generous gift of this incredible new food truck will allow us to continue to expand the reach of our Seamless Summer Feeding Program by adding mobile routes into the Travelers Rest and Berea communities,” said Joe Urban, Director of Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services.

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“During the regular school year, the new food truck will service Travelers Rest and Berea schools with pop-up lunch events, nutrition education opportunities, fresh fruit and vegetables sampling and taste testing new menu items,” he added.

The Riley Fellows donating the truck call themselves “Swamp Rabbit Express,” a nod to the truck’s service area along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. They are graduates of the Riley Institute at Furman’s Diversity Leaders Initiative. As part of the DLI program, participants work in small, cross-sector groups to respond to real issues and opportunities in their communities through service projects.

“Nearly half of Greenville County Schools’ approximately 76,000 students rely on the Food and Nutrition Program, leaving a gap in the summer months. Many of these students come from historically distressed areas or backgrounds. We wanted to do something to close the gap,” said Traci Hogan, Swamp Rabbit Express team member and GCS Assistant Superintendent for Special Education.

Through the USDA Seamless Summer Feeding Program, Greenville County Schools is able to provide breakfast and lunches free of charge to all children 18 years old and younger in qualifying locations. Greenville County Schools Seamless Summer program operates in over 50 schools and community center locations. A food truck delivers meals to children in communities that do not have transportation to access Seamless Summer locations.

“We know children in lower income homes are more at risk for obesity and related health conditions such as diabetes,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “Increasing access to nutritious food and encouraging kids to be active are critical components for building healthier communities.”

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