Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren’s newest community outreach resource arrived this week.

Club director Cindy Faldon said the club located in the Dr. Louis Peer Memorial City Park has received a free food truck, courtesy of the Walmart State Giving Program.

“The primary goal will be to provide nutritious meals to families in impoverished areas of Crawford County,” Faldon said.

This includes rural areas, outlying communities such as Cedarville and Kibler and housing authority properties.

“This will be accomplished through use of the mobile food truck which would allow BGCVB to serve meals at locations more easily-accessible for the defined target populations,” Faldon said.

Planning is underway to have the food truck at the Kibler City Park during spring break in March.

Faldon said benefactors will be given access to quality, nutritious meals at times when other reliable meal sources are not available.

“Many families heavily depend on the meals provided through area school districts, but are forced to go hungry when those are not served. In both Cedarville and Van Buren, breakfast and lunch is served on weekdays. However, there is a gap on the weekends and on school dismissal days.”

Faldon said the club’s food truck program would enable BGCVB to help fill that gap by providing healthy meals to participants at no charge.

“In addition to helping combat hunger at the most basic level, BGCVB’s meals initiative also will address another issue many families face - access to healthy foods,” Faldon pointed out. “Nutritious foods often are more costly than unhealthy options, forcing families to choose groceries which are high in fat and lacking in nutrients.”

BGCVB’s program will help put nutritious foods in the hands of participants, providing them with important nutrients vital to growth and development, she said.

The addition of a mobile unit also will equip Keystone members with valuable life and technical skills which will serve them now and in the future, Faldon said.

“Members will learn culinary techniques, nutrition lessons, and how to manage a small-scale operation, through the preparing and serving of foods,” Faldon said.

She said the Keystone members will learn about the importance of volunteering their time to benefit others.

“BGCVB’s hope is that such lessons will not only impact their future in terms of college and career readiness, but that it will instill a sense of community and citizenship that will impact countless others in the years to come,” Faldon said.