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Riley Fellows unveil new food truck for Greenville County students

The food trucks serve free, nutritionally balanced meals to Greenville County children during the summer months. (Photo: Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services)

A group of Riley Fellows from the Riley Institute at Furman University will unveil a new food truck for its first service of meals to Greenville County students at noon, Wednesday, July 31, at Travelers Rest United Methodist Church.

The donation by the Riley Fellows gives Greenville County Schools its second food truck serving free, nutritionally balanced meals to children during the summer months.

“The generous gift of this incredible new food truck will allow us to continue to expand the reach of our Seamless Summer Feeding Program by adding mobile routes into the Berea and Travelers Rest communities,” said Joe Urban, Director of Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services.

“During the regular school year, the new food truck will service Berea and Travelers Rest schools with pop-up lunch events, nutrition education opportunities, fresh fruit and vegetables sampling and taste testing new menu items,” he added.

The Riley Fellows known as the “Swamp Rabbit Express” donated a second food truck to Greenville County Schools as part of their service project with the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative.

The Riley Fellows donating the truck call themselves “Swamp Rabbit Express,” a nod to the truck’s service area along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. They are graduates of the Riley Institute at Furman’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI). As part of the DLI program, participants work in small, cross-sector groups to respond to real issues and opportunities in their communities through service projects.

“Nearly half of Greenville County Schools’ approximately 76,000 students rely on the Food and Nutrition Program, leaving a gap in the summer months. Many of these students come from historically distressed areas or backgrounds. We wanted to do something to close the gap,” said Traci Hogan, Swamp Rabbit Express team member and GCS Assistant Superintendent for Special Education.

Through the USDA Seamless Summer Feeding Program, Greenville County Schools is able to provide breakfast and lunches free of charge to all children 18 years old and younger in qualifying locations. Greenville County Schools Seamless Summer program operates in over 50 schools and community center locations. A food truck delivers meals to children in communities that do not have transportation to access Seamless Summer locations.

“We know children in lower income homes are more at risk for obesity and related health conditions such as diabetes,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “Increasing access to nutritious food and encouraging kids to be active are critical components for building healthier communities.”

The media is invited to attend the first meal service to children from the new food truck at noon, Wednesday, July 31. Travelers Rest United Methodist Church is a Seamless Summer feeding site.

Adding an element of play for students, the City of Greenville will bring out Mobi-Rec. The mobile recreation vehicle is the product of another DLI Community Action project and is designed to increase opportunities for youth to participate in safe, quality, structured play and recreation in areas where services are not available.

Representatives from the Riley Institute, Greenville County Schools, and Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services will be available for interviews.

The Riley Fellows on the Swamp Rabbit Express team are:

  • Stacey Bechtold, Greenville County Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Marty Herndon, Snider Fleet Solutions
  • Traci Hogan, Greenville County Schools
  • Toni Land, Prisma Health-Upstate
  • Rimes McElveen, Mere Christianity Forum
  • Danny Merck, Pickens County Schools
  • Cherod Webber, Innovative Global Supply
  • Will Whitley, Michelin North America

The Riley Fellows on the Mobilizers “Mobi-Rec” team are:

  • Ann Bourey, community leader
  • April Buchanan, Prisma Health-Upstate
  • Lynne Fowler, Michelin North America
  • Andreas Kalscheuer, BMW Manufacturing
  • David Lominack, TD Bank
  • Arelis Moore de Peralta, Clemson University
  • Michael Posey, Clemson University
  • Patricia Ravenhorst, SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Assault
  • Paul Thompson, North Greenville University

For more information about the Diversity Leaders Initiative or the Riley Institute at Furman, contact Megan Dodgens at megan.dodgens@furman.edu. For more information about Greenville County Schools and its Seamless Summer feeding program, contact Beth Brotherton at ebrotherton@greenville.k12.sc.us.

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