Healthy Lincoln County is making the rounds this summer a van called “Lulu the Lunch Wagon,” delivering free and healthy meals to kids and teens.
Lulu can’t be missed. The van is painted blue and yellow with fruits and vegetables behind wooden slates, like an old-time food wagon. It’s like an ice cream truck that instead of frozen treats offers prepackaged meals for children ages 18 and younger to take home. The only thing missing is a musical ditty playing to announce its arrival in the neighborhood.
Patricia Christ’s children Nikolas and Aaliyah Doble, all of Damariscotta, said the kids love Lulu and run out to the van when it comes. Aaliyah, 4, even tried to jump in the van she was so excited.
Lee Emmons, in his new role as summer meals coordinator, drives Lulu along a 4-hour route through Damariscotta, Edgecomb, and Wiscasset on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thursday, July 15 began with the pickup of 120 meals from Boothbay Region Elementary School, prepared by food service coordinator Heidi Stevens and her team.
Two breakfasts and two lunches for about 30 children were provided. Meals always include a protein, a grain, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat milk.
“The hope is not to have any meals left over,” Emmons said, and by the time Lulu returned to the school nearly all of them were given out.
Emmons’ route includes Sheepscot Bay Apartments, Maplewood Mobile Home Park, and Whippoorwill Mobile Home Park in Wiscasset. Signs at each location let people know the lunch wagon’s schedule.
Lulu stays at each stop for about 10 minutes. Then, Emmons drives around the area, honking a few times before heading to the next spot.
Much of Emmons’ job as summer meals coordinator involves getting the word out about the program. Many of the same kids pick up meals every week, but sometimes Emmons approaches those he thinks might be interested to encourage them to help themselves.
“I try to find that balance, serving meals and not bothering people,” he said.
After a swing by Wiscasset Community Center, where breakfast and lunch are available for pickup Monday through Friday, Lulu heads to the Townhouses at Davis Island in Edgecomb before travelling to her most popular destination at Ledgewood Court Apartments in Damariscotta.
Meals are also delivered on Monday and Wednesday along a Waldoboro and Jefferson route by the Lincoln County Sherriff’s Office. Stops include Skyview Ridge Mobile Home Park, the Marble Oaks neighborhood, Waldoboro village, East Ridge/Ladyslipper Lane, and Jefferson Village School.
Lulu the Lunch Wagon is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer food service program, and requires no sign-up or paperwork. Meals are provided no questions asked. Distribution sites are based on USDA’s determination of the “neediest” areas in Lincoln County.
For an updated list of mobile drop-off sites, check Healthy Lincoln County’s Facebook page, as locations can change or be added.
Healthy Lincoln County is a nonprofit community health organization with a mission to build a healthy county through collaboration, education, and outreach. The organization focuses on a number of strategies to support community health, including substance use prevention, nutrition and food security, active living, and mental health.
For more information or to volunteer, call 563-1330 or visit healthylincolncounty.org.