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Compton schools food trucks unveil cheery faces

Better 4 U Meals trucks emblazoned with cheery faces of young Compton scholars By GUADALUPE VICON, Contributing Writer COMPTON – You probably don't know Laci Martin or Mia Pruitt yet but very soon the faces of these

Better 4 U Meals trucks emblazoned with cheery faces of young Compton scholars

By GUADALUPE VICON, Contributing Writer

COMPTON – You probably don’t know Laci Martin or Mia Pruitt yet but very soon the faces of these two Foster Elementary students and four of their schoolmates will be familiar all over Compton.

Starting this week, the trucks from Better 4 U Meals, the company that provides fresh hot meals to hundreds of Compton Unified School District students every day, will display the faces of students from Foster Elementary.

The idea for the promotion is the brainchild of CUSD Board Vice President Micah Ali.

“While meeting with the president of this company I asked him, ‘hey those trucks are just plain and sterile white. Let’s liven them up with some images of our beautiful scholars.’ Let these children truly see themselves and the community as they really are.”

Better 4U Meals, based in Commerce, primarily provides meals to charter schools in this region. But in a cost-saving strategy that also ensured CUSD students could receive fresh hot meals every day, CUSD administrators contracted with the company which now provides breakfast, lunch and even supper to 34 Compton Unified school sites every day.

“We know many of our families struggle to make ends meet every month but they can rest assured their children will get free, nutritious meals every day,” says CUSD Board President Satra Zurita. “I want to emphasize, these meals are free and for many of our students, they will be the most nutritious meal they get that day.”

CUSD administrators point to research that shows students who eat school-provided meals have more nutritious diets than students who don’t – regardless of their income level.

But nutrition wasn’t on Laci Martin’s mind when she saw her 52-inch image on the side of the truck.

“It feels really weird seeing my face on a truck,” she said. “It’s weird because I’ve never seen my face on something the whole school can see.”

“It’s kind of scary and exciting at the same time,” said Mia Pruitt. “It’s scary because it’s so embarrassing.”

“I’m always looking at ways not only to enhance the image of Compton but also to showcase the Compton turnaround story,” said Ali. “I meet with many of our corporate partners and often I ask them to consider students for internships as well as encourage them to be responsible corporate stewards.”

The idea of using students to adorn their trucks has apparently attracted the attention of their other clients, says Better 4U Meals CEO Fernando Castillo. “Now they’re all asking us – when can we get our students on the trucks?”

Guadalupe Vicon is a freelanced journalist based in Los Angeles.

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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