Burke County Public Schools, Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation unveil food truck
During a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday at the Olive Hill Resource Center, members of the Burke County Board of Education, along with officials from the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation and Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, declared the new Burke County Public Schools food truck open for service.
The 20.5-foot, state-of-the art, professional-grade food truck rolled into town on Wednesday and on July 7 will start rolling into neighborhoods to feed students. On the outside, the truck is outlined with bold teal and orange that match the district’s logo. The dominant design on the truck is the logo and tagline: Igniting Learning for a Brighter Future. Abstract art splashes in a rainbow of hues dot the ends of the truck. The serving side of the truck features differ from those on the driver’s side in that they include the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation’s name and logo. Part of the Foundation’s proceeds from its annual gala in 2019 helped purchase the food truck as the Foundation donated $42,500 to Burke County Public Schools. The inside of the truck is a chef’s dream kitchen on wheels complete with everything needed to meet any foodie’s taste buds.
The truck will be used most immediately as part of the district’s summer feeding program. During the regular school year, it will travel to field days, sporting events and other special school events. It also will serve as a classroom on wheels for high school culinary students and pop up around town to serve the public at festivals and other venues.
“With the popularity of food trucks, we saw this as a way to relate to our students and provide mobile food options that will allow us to travel out into the community,” Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said. “We are grateful for our friends at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge and the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation for their willingness to partner with us on this venture that will truly have an impact on students’ lives. The food truck will serve our students not only by providing meals, but also by providing the real life work experience for high school culinary students.”
“In a typical summer, we feed about 600 students at two elementary schools,” Burke County Public Schools Child Nutrition Director Daniel Wall said. “We are in different times now with COVID-19 and are feeding kids grab-and-go style through car rider lines at five of our schools and off one yellow bus. We have been able to double the number of students served so far this summer and expect that to only increase with the arrival of the food truck. This truck is an opportunity for kids to access meals they might not be able to get otherwise.”
“I’m happy we could be a part of this and provide educational material for the kids,” Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge CEO Kathy Bailey said. “The food truck is a fun way for them to learn about healthy eating and making lifestyle changes such as cutting back on sugar and eating more fruits and vegetables. The truck also addresses an unfortunate need in the community –feeding hungry children. We hope our partnership with the school system continues to grow and we find creative ways to meet the needs of our community.”
“The Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation finds it an honor to be a part of this special project that will reach numerous children within the community during the summer months,” Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation Executive Director Traci Riebel said. “We will be providing information on important health topics as well with some fun giveaways.”
Hospital representatives and Board of Education members enjoyed the first meal served off the food truck. The menu included shrimp and grits, pork sliders and chicken mozzarella ciabatta.
Starting July 7, the truck will replace the yellow school bus that has been delivering meals on Tuesdays and Fridays to three Morganton locations. The food truck will serve free meals to children 18 years old and younger on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m. at Hillcrest Elementary, 201 Tennessee St.; at 11:45 a.m. at PPG Paint Store, 511 Burkemont Ave. and at 12:30 p.m. at Walker Road Baptist Church, 100 Walker Road.