Thursday, June 10, 2010

CDM's AmeriCorps team: Food on the Move

Throughout this summer until school resumes, Central Dallas Ministries (CDM) will deploy a large part of its Ameri-Corps team and half of its Summer Lunch Program resources in a partnership with PepsiCo to bring Food on the Move to a number of inner city neighborhoods in Dallas County.  Part of PepsiCo's Food for Good initiative, our partnership intends to provide up to 500,000 meals to over 10,000 additional children during the summer, school break. 

Food on the Move is the only mobile food delivery program in the nation operating at this scale.  PepsiCo's involve-ment makes mobile delivery possible for children who are not involved in site-based summer programs.  The trucks deliver to apartment complexes, city parks and other high density gathering places for children who are often unattended by adults.  The genius of Food on the Move is that it takes the food to those places where children live and play during the normal course of their day. 

During the school year, over 19,000,000 children participate in the free and reduced rate school lunch program, another Department of Agriculture program.  However, during the summer months, that number drops to approximately 2,500,000 participants.  The USDA is committed to closing that hunger gap for low-income children.  Food on the Move provides a workable, scalable model that could be rolled out nationally.  Such a move is our hope as we work to perfect the process here in Dallas this summer.  PepsiCo is engaged in a similar effort this summer in Chicago in a partnership with Catholic Charities.

In addition to Food on the Move, CDM administers a contract with the Texas Department of Agriculture that serves over 125 summer program sites with another 500,000 meals.  This summer is the first full season that the mobile delivery program has been operational alongside the more traditional program, site-based approach.

A typical stop on the Food on the Move routes sees a team of AmeriCorps members arriving 30 minutes before the meal delivery to gather and organize the children at the location.  PepsiCo delivers the meals and our AmeriCorps team remains after the delivery team leaves.  During the concluding half hour, our team conducts recreational, social and educational activities and invites the children to return at the same time the next day and bring friends with them.  This process repeats itself at 20 sites each day. 

To get a feel for how Food on the Move works click here to view a CBS Channel 11 news report on the effort. 

Expect additional updates throughout the summer!


Lorlee said...

Sounds like a great program. I hope it also includes a component/instruction about leaving a place as clean as you found it. We had a feeding program in our little neighborhood park some years ago and we got really tired of picking up all the litter. That component should include teaching the kids about litter.

Lorlee said...

Sounds like a great program. I hope it has a component/education on littering. We had a feeding program in our neighborhood park and spent the entire time it was there cleaning up litter. Great opportunity to teach the kids about littering. I would also hope that those in charge are in charge of leaving the place as clean or cleaner than they found it. Particularly since the City is cutting back litter pickup in most parks.

Anonymous said...

As a part of this program, I know that everything is being left cleaner than it is found! This program, especially with the help of Pepsico, is providing so many kids around Dallas with nutritional meals they might not other wise have. What an awesome program!