"The first impression I had when I came by here to just see where it is, I thought I was lost," said Parker, manager of the Summer Lunch Club. "Then, I looked at this trailer park and said there is a need right there."
The Summer Lunch Club is an extension of the federal Summer Food Program established by the United States Department of Agriculture. Right now, students can go to a variety of school locations. But, some students can't get to any of the cafeterias, so the Jefferson County School District wanted to bring the cafeteria to them.
"When we don't have school going on, they still need to have some good nutrition during the summer," said Linda Stoll, Executive Director of Food Services for Jeffco Schools. "We want our kids well-nourished and ready to learn when they come back in the fall."
The bus is no ordinary bus.
"I said I've got this bus and here's my idea," Stoll said.
The transportation department and maintenance department for the school district put their heads together to create a workspace where food service workers can feed hundreds of kids at a time.
"We have our own refrigerator and two hot cabinets," Parker said. "They took out the seats so there's seating for the kids."
Smaller-sized cafeteria tables were special ordered to create eating booths inside the bus. Workers pull out a large awning connected to the side of the bus to create a shaded eating space outside.
A generator was placed on the bus to create electricity. They even have a kitchen sink inside so kids can wash their hands or if they need to clean-up. The bus is designed to meet all health code requirements for a school kitchen.
"It's cool," said Jose Poot, a parent with three children eating lunch Tuesday morning. "A lunch bus; I don't know what to call it."
Poot calls the whole effort a blessing for families in Duke's Mobile Home Park, where he lives.
"This is very important, you know, especially in these times when many parents doesn't have jobs," Poot said. "I think some kids, they don't have a meal for today."
They do now, every Monday through Friday for the rest of the summer.
"We had no idea really what to expect," Parker said.
She should expect some grateful families.
"Thanks to all these people helping us," Poot. "What can I say? God bless you."
The Summer Lunch Club bus was made possible through a $6,000 grant provided by a group called Hunger Free Colorado. The rest of the costs are picked up by the federal Summer Food Program.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)