A Meal on Wheels Fueling the Community

HAGERSTOWN, MD- During the summer, some children miss out on getting a decent meal when classes aren't in session. But this summer, there's a new program that's fueling the community.

Bringing the fuel to you is their motto and the Meal Machine is their name.

"We thought if we could take meals to where we know kids are located, that are qualified for the free and reduced meal program," said David Jordan, executive director at the Washington County Community Action Council. "We could potentially increase the number of meals being served to kids that are in need."

It's a federally funded program, and it doesn't cost the county anything to operate.

"Currently, the community action council is providing the vehicle and the driver," said Mike Embly, assistant supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services. "And then Washington County Schools we provide two staff members actually prepare the food and serve the food."

The Meal Machine serves the same kind of food students would find at school, this time it's just served picnic style.

Recently, the Meal Machine received the CHAMPS Grant from the National League of Cities earning them $45,000 in funding. 

"Those funds will be used for the possibility of addition vehicles that could serve addition sites and expand the program," said Embly.

In its first summer, the Meal Machine provided more than 450 meals a week in Washington County feeding nearly 10 percent of the students in need.

"Just getting out in the field, seeing the kids come out, appreciate what we're doing, you know we hear from families, that just says it all, that's the inspiration and our drive to continue," said Embly.

"So I think it's just an unbelievable opportunity for us to be able to provide for the children in our community that otherwise may not be able to get at least one good meal a day," said Jordan.

It's one meal that's making a big difference this summer.

The Meal Machine program is also working with the public library and some local health centers to bring mobile books vans and dental care to these meal sites too.

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