“Travelin’ Bus” to feed over 100 a day in Centre County

Local News

Many kids in rural parts of our region don’t have enough food.  So a group of local YMCA’s are taking their summer lunch program on the road. 

YMCA of Centre County says there’s a 13% food insecurity rate in Centre County.  That means, more than one in every ten kids here don’t get enough nutritional foods or enough food period, because their family can’t afford more.

The four YMCAs in Centre county, Philipsburg, State College, Bellefonte and Spring Mills feed over 500 kids a day in the Summer, through their Summer lunch program.  But Mel Curtis, Coordinator for the Anti-Hunger Program at YMCA, says that’s still not meeting the child hunger need in the county.
We live in an area that’s thriving, with Penn State University, we have a lot of major businesses in the area, and things like that and you get to the outlining areas and a lot of these people do not have this opportunity that you’re seeing in the Centre region, Curtis, said.
Their new bus or Travelin Table program that started Monday, will head to 24 rural sites throughout the county every week in the summer, like Aaronsberg, Rebersburg and Sandy Ridge.
The bus will have activities like a Children’s Farmer’s Market, where kids will get Y bucks to buy fruits and vegetables they’ve never had before.
A lot of these kids if they don’t know what it is, they’re not going to eat it, so this way they get a chance to try it, Curtis, said.
The Travelin‘ Table will feed an extra 100 to 200 kids every day.  The bus will also be used to travel to educate kids on the signs of diabetes and how to avoid it, and for health checkups.
A child will come on, we’ll have an intern, that works with Penn State and we’re going to be meeting with Mount Nittany Hospital, Curtis said.  The interns can go through things and check for things.  If they find something, then they can refer that child to an organization.
All meals and checkups on the bus are free for all school-aged kids thanks to grants, donations, and fundraisers.
On Tuesday Curtis will speak to Senator Bob Casey about the need for more funding for the Travelin‘ table program, and about the possibility of expanding it throughout the state.

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