By Scott Bleile

With schools closed due the coronavirus outbreak, the Seaford School District and the Woodbridge School District food trucks have been out in the communities serving meals to students during this time of crisis. Woodbridge just received their new truck this week and immediately put it into service.

Woodbridge’s new food truck and Seaford’s food trucks will be serving lunches at many locations during the time school is out. Go to the each district’s web page or for locations and times.

Woodbridge superintendent Heath Chasanov, in window, hands out meals to Supervisor of Nutrition services, Joann Joseph. Meals were provided to families in the district who drove through the truck delivery area. Assistant superintendent Derek Prillaman is shown waiting for more meals. Photo by Scott Bleile

“This truck could not have come
at a better time,” said Woodbridge Superintendent Heath Chasanov. “We are putting it right out in the district communities to help feed our students.” The Woodbridge School Board approved the truck at the beginning of the school year, little did they know how important this purchase was going to be for the district. “We want people to know, this truck did not cost the district taxpayers anything,” Chasanov said during the board meeting. “All of the funding comes from the government USDA.”

Supervisor of Nutrition Services for the Woodbridge School District Joann Joseph is heading up the new service. “From the day I started working in the Woodbridge School District, I knew that we would need to tackle the challenge of feeding children spread out in a rural community when school is not in session,” said Joseph. “My suggested solution to the district was to purchase a food truck, and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of enthusiasm the idea received. Everyone at the district whole-heartedly embraced the idea and everyone involved pitched in to make the Roaming Raider a reality. Given the current national situation, delivery of our finished food truck is nothing short of perfect timing. When the announcement was made that schools would close, my mind immediately went to our students who rely on their schools for breakfast, lunch, and supper. I thought about families that might already be struggling to make ends meet needing to find the income to supply additional meals when care- givers might be out of work due to businesses shutting down. I knew we could make a big difference supplying meals to children in the community with the food truck – public schools exist to serve students, so we need to help in any way that we can. It is simply the right thing to do.”

According to Joseph, the food truck served over 1,200 meals in the first week in service and they expect to do more in the coming weeks.

Seaford’s food trucks are well established. The district has been involved with the Summer Lunch Program for the last several years and have many locations already in place. “We want the kids to have food, so we were able to get the trucks up and running quickly,” said Donna Trader, the district’s dietitian. “We have been prepping the trucks for summer and we are able to get them going. It is nice that we have two trucks and service more meals all around the district.”

William Mengel, Seaford’s Supervisor of Nutrition Services, directs the food truck program. “Seaford had the first food truck in the state of Delaware to serve meals to its children 18 years old and younger. Its positive impact was noticed immediately within the community,” said Mengel. “Today, we are doubly blessed to have two food trucks in our school district serving meals to more children, in more locations, within the Seaford community. The food trucks have helped address food insecurities within hungry children by providing hundreds of hot meals daily to children in the summer. Now, the food trucks are called on again to assist quelling ongoing food anxieties and food insecurities that children have during the coronavirus pandemic. During this crucial time of need, we are feeding over 1,000 meals per day to children in the Seaford community at nine sites in Seaford and Blades. We take pride in the fact that we can help provide hot, healthy, nutritious meals to children in times of need, especially when schools are closed. The food truck program is deeply in the hearts of the Nutrition Services staff.”