Former school bus converted to summer feeding unit in Manatee County

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BRADENTON, Fla. – There’s a new way to make sure students in Manatee County don't go hungry this summer: the food will come to them.

Many Manatee County School students receive free or reduced lunch during the school sessions. But now that school is out, providing meals to youngsters under the age of eighteen is now a priority.

"It’s really important that we make sure that kids are fed well over the summer, they're ready to come back, ready to learn for the school year. We serve many kids during the school year but over the summer miss out on a bunch of kids," says Skye Grundy, nutrition specialist with the school district.

The Mobile Feeding Unit is an addition to existing summer lunch programs. Even with school sites running summer programs, some students fall through the cracks. So the decision was made to bring to food to them.

The bus will make three stops daily at 30-minutes each stop. "Our district covers north of the river and south of the river; we want to make sure that we are all out there. So we chose three separate spots."

Kids have the opportunity to eat outside or inside the bus. "Kids will come on the bus if it's raining. We do have seating on this side. We will also have a fold out bench over here, so we’ll have kids being able to eat on both sides,” says Grundy.

Kids will also enjoy some of the same nutritious meals they've had throughout the school year. "We have a hot box to hold the hot part of the meal…chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders...all of their favorites throughout the school year.”

Beginning Wednesday, June 11th, the bus is scheduled to arrive at 993 26th Street East at noon, Bradenton Village at 1pm, and Lincoln Park by 2 p.m.

Manatee County parents who want more information about the Summer Food program can go to or call 941-751-6550.