SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - For homeless students in Spokane Valley, it's not a question of what they had for dinner, but if they even had a meal.
That's why dozens of food trucks and restaurants are teaming up this summer to make sure none of those kids go hungry.
"We had to do something," said Tony Epefanio, owner of Mixed Plate food truck and President of Greater Spokane Food Truck Association. "Everybody should care. How do we have kids that aren't eating?"
During the school year, Spokane Valley Partners sends food home with students for the weekend, but Epefanio said that program ends during the summer months. It's a hole in a support system he wanted to fix, but he couldn't do it alone. Now, over 30 restaurants and food trucks have stepped up this summer to offer more than 3,300 meals.
"They can come to any of our food trucks at any of our events that we are serving and get hot meals."
The 59 homeless students enrolled this summer each get a punch card worth 55 meals. Businesses like Ben and Jerry's, Kona Ice and Black Fire Kettle Corn are also dishing up desserts.
"They can go get their desserts, too. That doesn't count against their meals."
Another barrier for homeless student is transportation, which is why GSFTA teamed up with Giving Back Packs to provide summer bus passes.
"Maybe get to a safe place, maybe find a place to go sleep at night or maybe go to get a job or things like that."
This is the first year these businesses have offered the free meal program and Epefanio feels it won't be the last.
"We need the help and we need people to come together, work together, and take care of this problem. There shouldn't be any kids or anybody who doesn't have food."
The food truck owners involved belong to a non-profit called Greater Spokane Food Truck Association Gives Back. For more information, click here.
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