Five days a week, families in Fresno’s struggling neighborhoods are on the lookout for a brightly colored bus decorated with elementary students’ drawings of broccoli stalks with bright eyes, smiling pizza slices and apples playing with food friends. Families know they can get healthy grab and go meals for their children here.
To tackle food insecurity among children living in some of the most impoverished neighborhoods, Fresno’s Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC) refurbished a school bus in May 2019 to provide meals during summers and winter breaks when children lack access to school’s free and reduced-price meals. Community Medical Centers joined area hospitals and community partners to support the effort providing $25,000 in community benefit contributions toward the bus retrofit project.
But since the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools, the EOC Food Express Bus has been a regular fixture in five neighborhoods where children are particularly vulnerable, providing both breakfasts and lunches. The colorful bus provides free and nutritious USDA-funded meals to children in West Fresno, Tower District, Manchester Mall and Cary Park—all underserved city neighborhoods.