Children, some in strollers, and their young parents waited in the shade of trees in front of the administration office at Lincoln Apartments for the colorful truck in the parking lot to start serving containers of food.
It’s a sight seen each weekday during the summer at Lincoln Apartments and three other sites as the city and nonprofits, like A Lot of Direction, Love and Affection and Mirakal’s Love for Lives, feed children who otherwise might go hungry.
Thomas Rice, executive director of Mirakal’s Love for Lives, said for the past four years his organization has partnered with ADLA, which has a contract with the city to participate in the summer feeding program. The two nonprofits provide meals Mondays through Fridays for children who live in the Goldsboro Housing Authority apartments.
“I think it’s a real positive move,” Rice said. “It’s something well-needed here. There are a lot of kids who go hungry, especially now with school out for the summer, some don’t get enough food.”
Rice said the food truck delivers more than 300 meals a day to children at the four sites.
“People love it,” he said. “They look at it as beneficial and a great thing. I wish we could get more support. I think it is needed year-round, more so on the weekends. We feed them five days a week, but who feeds them the other two days?”
Onae Cooley stood beside the food truck with her 4-year old daughter. Her 1-year-old twins were in a shaded stroller as they waited for the meals.
“It’s good with the kids being out of school,” Cooley said of the nutritious meals. “And they are doing this free. It’s a big help. The food is great and the portions are the right size. The kids get excited when they come to the truck.”
Danny King, executive director and founder of ADLA, said the soup kitchen and food bank of his nonprofit have fed Wayne County residents since 2008 with help from sponsors like the Mt. Olive Pickle Co., Southern Bank, and Jackson and Sons Heating and Air.
Mayor Chuck Allen and Shycole Simpson-Carter, Goldsboro community relations director, were instrumental in providing the funding to help ADLA purchase the food truck in 2014. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and N.C. Food Bank help provide the food, King said.
“With mobile feeding, you can get a lot done,” King said. “You’re not required to go in and out of a space that has a kitchen. We can pull right up and have the convenience to serve. The parents are ecstatic. We get a lot of support from (the public housing) community. Parents really embrace it.”
Mirakal’s Love for Lives helps provide a second chance for the homeless, including homeless military veterans and people who were incarcerated.
ADLA of Mount Olive helps at-risk youths with behavior and employability skills, and provides after-school, reading, crime prevention and culinary programs.
Monday through Friday, the food truck makes 45-minute stops at the Housing Authority’s Little Washington complex at 11 a.m., Fairview Apartments at noon, Elmwood Terrace 1 p.m. and Lincoln Apartments at 2 p.m.