We often think about kids being transported to and from school when we think of a school bus. But one school bus in the Gates-Chili Central School District is doing more than just that.
“Spartan Eats” is Gates-Chili’s traveling food bus that serves nutritious meals to kids in the Gates community.
“When I’m up at breakfast, kids basically come over through the line and they tell me what they want and we give them the food,” explains Zach Reifsteck.
Reifsteck is a volunteer working with the school’s nutrition team. The team pooled their resources with the transportation department to obtain this full-size school bus. It’s goal is to not only serve underprivileged kids, but to make it more convenient for them to receive meals.
“The meal is close-by them instead of, let’s say they live a far distance from any location, they can come to the nearby places and get free food,” says Reifsteck.
The bus makes several stops in the community. It’s first stop Wednesday was at the Memorial Park in Gates. It serves nearly 80 kids daily.
Superintendent Kim Ward says, “Our poverty levels over the last several years have continued to increase. We’re over 50 percent district-wide.”
Which is why Ward feels the need is so great. Making this project a reality has put Gates-Chili schools at the forefront in school nutrition programs locally.