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School district food truck nearly ready to roll

NEWMAN – The food truck trend is extending to Newman-Crows Landing campuses.

The district recently purchased a truck to serve as a colorful, rolling food service station for special events, to dole out concessions at athletic events and to reach out to the community during summertime food service programs.

The truck will be hard to miss with its purple-and-gold Orestimba paint theme.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for about two years,” explained district Finance Director Caralyn Mendoza, who oversees food services operations. “We’ve tried to elevate the high school to more of a college-type campus with improvements such as the student union, and a big movement on college campuses is food trucks. We also knew that we had to do something about the concession trailer (in Warrior Stadium).”

Orestimba won’t be the only beneficiary of the food truck, as Mendoza hopes to use it for special occasions across the district.

And, it will be put to use during a summer meal program which serves free lunches to anybody 18 and younger.

In recent years the summer program was held in conjunction with summer school and ended in June.

The district will expand that program by using the truck to serve meals at Pioneer Park and in Crows Landing and continuing through July this year, Mendoza noted.

“We have never been able to serve the kids in Crows Landing during the summer,” she said.

Mendoza said the truck will initially be used on a special event basis, but does not rule out using the truck regularly at Orestimba.

“If it looks like it will increase our numbers and doesn’t deter from other service areas on campus, I could see us doing that,” she commented. “I don’t see us opening it on a daily basis yet. I want to be thoughtful in how we implement it.”

She expects a variety of groups to use the truck.

“It will be a partnership for the athletic department, because concessions are a big money-maker for them, and we will let other groups have access to use in special events,” Mendoza told Mattos Newspapers.

When Mendoza first began investigating the possibility of acquiring a food truck, she was quoted a price of about $90,000 for a fully-equipped unit built from the ground up. That pushed the project to a back burner for a time, but when revisiting possibilities Mendoza learned that the company she had contacted had a more affordable unit available which would meet the district’s needs.

“Most people want the flat-top grills and fryers, but the company had found one without them,” she explained.

The food truck is not equipped for cooking – but does have refrigeration, a steam table for warming and a sandwich prep bar, among other amenities, and the $65,000 price tag was more to the district’s liking.

The truck was purchased with proceeds from the food services program.

Mendoza is looking forward to putting the truck to use, but said that might be limited as the school year is winding down.

“I don’t know how much we will use it between now and the end of school,” she said. “We will use it in June and July for the seamless summer meal program, and then get it scheduled for events district-wide  starting in August.”

  • Quantas

    What happened to my comment? Who asked it to be erased? Was it too pointed? In case its deletion was a “mistake”, here’s the main idea:” Why is the district spending $65,000 on a food truck when they don’t have a plan for its use? Why couldn’t the dollars spent here from the food services program be used to educate the students? This money was transferred into the General fund in the past to pay for student needs? Why couldn’t it be used for that now? Seems like such a waste …

  • Caralyn Mendoza

    There will be a contribution to the General Fund this year as well. The district had been looking to do this for about a year and found the opportunity to purchase a used vehicle with all the necessary equipment instead of building a new one at nearly 90,000. It will be implemented for its primary purpose of summer food service June 3. The CDE requires that no more than 3 months operating expenses be held in reserve, excess needs to be reinvested in the program, which is what this is.