School bus drivers across the country take responsibility for our children every day, transporting them to and from school safely. In Painted Post, they are going the extra mile to make sure families have enough to eat.
On the last Saturday of each month, the employees of Birnie Bus on Victory Highway host a Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry (MFP) truck inside the bus garage, serving more than 80 families. The MFP provides frozen meat, fresh produce, dairy products, breads, and more.
Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 3.1 million pounds of food at 773 MFP distributions. More than 700 volunteers gave their time to distribute food at 90 MFP sites across the six counties we serve.
Birnie Bus has been hosting the site and volunteering for a year, says Sylvia Hamilton, Birnie Bus General Manager.
“My son works at the Food Bank and he called and asked if it might be possible to have a Mobile Food Pantry here,” Sylvia says.
Earl Leonard, Sylvia’s son and our Production Manager, says the facility — with its large open bus bays — was a perfect spot for an MFP. Many MFPs are held in open lots and the garage offers shelter in cold or rainy weather.
“A lot of drivers thought it was a great thing to try. They really like to get involved in the community,” Sylvia says. “I am really hoping we will keep pursuing it here.”
MFP distributions serve everyone regardless of income or place of residence.
“Our drivers don’t get rich from this job,” she adds. “Even they can go through the line after the clients, and that helps them, too.”
Driver Tom Weber says drivers see poverty and need on each and every bus route.
“I hope the MFP is helping everyone. Although, I know there are many who need help but won’t take it,” he says. “Every driver sees the need at every stop and we mention the food truck to people who need it.”