School bus transformed into diner for summer meal program

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Food insecurity in Ross County is a huge problem. According to an Ohio Poverty Report nearly 18% of Ross county residents live in poverty.

That equals a lot of children who cannot get the meals they need, but the Chillicothe City Schools are trying try to help feed children during the summer.

Starting in June, a school bus will be transformed into a diner-like setting for children to eat at during the months of June and July.

“To know that they’re going to be putting a bus out there that’s feeding these kids through the summer when they’re not going to be at school to eat that really touches my soul,” said resident Jessica Ison. “It makes me happy.”

She and others who live in the area think this is a perfect solution.

“I know a lot of little girls and boys even who are preschool age that my kids come home and say these kids don’t eat unless they’re at school mommy why is that,” said Ison.

“I have a lot of friends that are struggling, and that have three four kids and are single parents. I think something like this would be very beneficial in helping them,” said another Chillicothe resident.

According to the feeding America meal gap map from 2014, 4,500 children live in food insecure homes in Ross County. The superintendent of Chillicothe City Schools thinks that’s a problem.

“We don’t just care about our kids when they’re with us and in school,” said Jon Saxton. “We care about them all the time all year long.”

During the months of June and July their bus will go to five locations throughout the city. They hope hungry children will fill the seats on the bus and have a chance to fill their stomachs with food they need.

“It’s just open to all kids in our community,” said Food Service Director Mary Montgomery. “Anyone that would eat a lunch you know has that opportunity to have that lunch for the day.”

Chillicothe City Schools are still looking for the five locations they will set up.

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