‘Big Blue Bus’ to plan its return with community meeting


The Record-Herald



Planning for the 2020 Washington Court House City Schools’ (WCHCS) summer food service program is underway, and the district is holding an information meeting that representatives from all over the county are invited to.

In order to be a host site, representatives must attend the meeting which is planned for Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the WCHCS Central Office, 306 Highland Ave. in Washington C.H.

Within 53 days this past summer, the “Big Blue Bus” served 20,796 free meals to children ages 0 to 18 in the community. Along with the hot meal, children received educational enrichment each day.

The education enrichment included a traveling library, volunteer teacher interaction and Chrome book STEM activities.

The funding for the meal and employees was provided in full by the United States Department of Agriculture. Additionally, local businesses, churches and organizations provided the funds necessary to convert an old school bus into a mobile kitchen, making the Big Blue Bus possible without any cost to the local taxpayer.

“Without the help of our many local stakeholders, such as SugarCreek, this program would not have been possible,” said Trevor Patton, director of marketing and communications at WCHCS. “Because of their belief in our dream, we were able to feed over 20,000 meals to kids in our community, and we could not be more thankful of their support.”

At the launch of the program, the Big Blue Bus had four daily stops across town but soon expanded to cover The Well’s summer programming, as well as two locations in Jeffersonville.

“Soon after the Big Blue Bus hit the road we began to receive phone calls from other agencies and communities across the county asking if we could include their entity in our program,” explained Patton. “We knew that child hunger was a major issue in our community, but after I got a call from the mayor of Jeffersonville and other community leaders, we realized just how vital this program is for our county.”

According to the USDA, one in six children are “food insecure” in the state of Ohio.

With the success of the Big Blue Bus expansion to Jeffersonville, as well as the out-pour of interest from other communities in the county, WCHCS is preparing ways to expand the program for additional children across Fayette County without using school funds.

“We are very proud of the success of this program in its first year,” said Patton, “but we realize there’s a lot more work to be done in our community. We are determined to feed as many kids in our county as possible while continuing to cost the local taxpayers nothing.”

“We need any organization, church or community representative that is interested in being a host site for the Big Blue Bus to come to this meeting so that we can accurately prepare for this summer’s program and services.”

Any entity that wishes to have the Big Blue Bus stop at their location must be present at Tuesday’s information session to participate in 2020.

For more information, call the Central Office at 740-335-6620 or email bigbluebus@wchcs.org.

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The Record-Herald