New mobile unit takes charity for a ride to Sunnyside Elementary School

Lucy, a mobile unit that delivers food and school resources to children, is now serving the Central Valley through the efforts of Save the Children

TULARE COUNTY– Strathmore’s Sunnyside Elementary School saw a ray of light when the new mobile unit, Lucy, delivered Thanksgiving meals to students and families.

Save the Children, an organization that is dedicated to bettering the futures of children across the world, has rolled into Tulare County for the first time. Save the Children sent out their mobile unit nicknamed “Lucy” to Strathmore’s Sunnyside Elementary School, where the colorful bus handed out Thanksgiving meals and learning resources to students and their parents. This is part of Save the Children’s efforts to bring 300,000 meals to students and their families this holiday season, according to their press release.

“Lucy actually means light, or ray of light, and that’s what we believe our mobile unit is in the communities that we serve, a ray of light,” Rodriguez said.

The mobile unit, food supplies and school resources were funded through a grant that the elementary school district received from Save the Children, according to Rodriguez. These efforts are geared towards children up to five years old, as well as their families. Sunnyside Elementary is not the only school district that will be seeing Lucy around, as seven other districts also received the funding. Those districts are: 

  • Farmersville Unified School District 
  • Pleasant View Elementary School District
  • Tipton Elementary School District
  • Alpaugh Unified School District
  • Alta Vista Elementary School District
  • Kings River Union Elementary
  • Kings Canyon Unified School District’s Washington Elementary

“This was the very first of what we hope are going to be many events in the Central Valley with the mobile unit,” Victoria Rodriguez, the lead associate for Save the Children’s kindergarten readiness programs in Tulare and Fresno County said.

The mobile unit is currently housed at Sunnyside Elementary, but will be available for events around the county, according to Rodriguez. The meals will be funded through a food security grant that Rodriguez said will hopefully be a continuous one. The mobile unit will be solely for events, and will be available to each school district based on their need or planned events. In any case, she was sure to emphasize that the mobile unit was here to stay and dedicated to helping families in need.

Lucy is not the first of her kind. Save the Children has been sending these converted buses and vans to other states, as well, including Arkansas, California, Kentucky, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington. There are now 16 buses already on the road in these states, and 12 more are getting ready to drive off to Mississippi, Texas and West Virginia, according to a Save the Children press release.

The efforts to donate meals and school supplies to children was spurred on by the high poverty rates in rural areas, with roughly 90% of children facing food insecurity living in rural areas, according to the press release.

“Geographic isolation, lack of transportation, and limited access to fresh food and learning resources are making it very difficult for many rural families to give their children what they need to grow, develop and thrive as learners and in life,” Lesley Graham, who oversees Save the Children’s community impact programming in the U.S. said in a statement.

Some of the buses that have been launched are also designed to be “mobile classrooms,” according to the press release. They are “equipped with art supplies, WiFi, laptops and printers, so kids can create and complete homework assignments.” They are for students three to five years old.

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