November 9, 2018

Since being introduced during the summer of 2017, the Bus Stop Café has successfully helped Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) feed more students throughout the year – specifically during school breaks.

The trend continued during Fall Break 2018.

“We only saw an increase of 200 in total fall break meals, but the food bus went from 1,278 (during fall break 2017) to 1,677 this year,” said Dena Bond, IPS Food Service director. “So, 400 more kids were served from the bus in those 10 days.”

A large part of that increase came from the district’s Haughville meal site location and the decision by the Food Service Team to move the meals from inside the public library to using the food bus instead.

“Our highest number at Haughville was 39 students when the food was inside the library,” said Bond. “This time at Haughville, our highest number of meals served was 102 from the Bus Stop Cafe.”

She attributes this success to a couple of factors:

  • More awareness about the food location.
  • The color of the Bus Stop Café.

“When you have this big, orange bus hanging out in the parking lot, it draws more people verses having someone inside that you don’t know is there,” said Bond. “But once these spots know that we’re coming, then they start wanting us and expecting us to come. They just know we’re going to be there and they just keep coming.”

The food bus runs during fall, winter and spring breaks but stays dormant in the winter because of Indiana’s unpredictable weather and the size of the bus. The district modified a traditional yellow school bus and converted it into the Bus Stop Café. It’s also used by schools during special events.

Overall, Bond said the bus has created an excitement and added another level to school events and the overall dining experience for students.

Just like food served in IPS schools throughout the year, food from the Bus Stop Café is free for all students (including non-IPS students age 18 and younger) through the National School Lunch Program.