Vidor Rotary Club acquires newer green bus

Published 8:57 am Friday, October 28, 2016

Special to The Leader


Six years ago, an idea was born.  Vidor Rotary Club wanted to find a way to take food and books to children who didn’t have access to those things much of the time when school was not in session, so they asked the school district to donate a small used bus to them.  It took nearly a year, but the bus was attained, painted snakeskin green, and outfitted with colorful cabinets donated by a local cabinet maker.  Donated books filled the shelves, and Rotarians began packing lunches.  For the past five years, the green bus has rolled across Vidor, feeding children on the free and reduced lunch program and taking reading materials to kids from birth to age eighteen.  “Thousands of dollars of meals have filled tummies, and thousands of books have fed minds,” says Sally Andrews, Vidor Rotary Club’s President Elect, who was instrumental in obtaining the bus.

As the bus program, dubbed Read and Feed, has developed, many new facets have come into play.  The Vidor Rotarians, who originally visited one apartment complex monthly, now visit four weekly during the summer and each of those four once monthly during the school year.  But you can find the green bus at many other places giving away free reading materials. These include two community-wide garage sales the club sponsors each year, the Vidor Public Library’s summer reading program, the Lions Club Fourth of July event, a summer program at a local skating rink, and….well…any other time they are asked.

In addition, lending libraries the size of very large birdhouses are painted bright green to match the bus. They are located at several locations in Vidor, and children who don’t live in an area the bus visits take a book when they need something to read.

The group has also begun partnering with Vidor’s United Christian Care Center.  As the Rotarians roll out the bus, the Care Center follows with boxes of food for indigent families in the four apartment complexes. The families register in advance so that their food boxes can be collected while their children visit the green bus.  “It’s always a happy event when the green bus rolls up!” says Past President Darrellyn Ford.  “We love to see the excitement in the eyes of the children we serve.”

Recently the group acquired a newer bus from the school district. “This one is a bit bigger and in better shape than the one we’ve been running for the past five years. She’s done her duty, and it’s time to retire her and get something that is in better working condition,” says Vidor Rotary Club President Tim Andrews. Andrews and seven other of his club members currently take turns driving the bus….not a bad average for a club with only twenty-seven members.

So what’s next for the little green bus from Vidor? Well, first of all, a newer bus is in the works!  Donated by Vidor ISD, the more modern bus is now being painted green and will soon be outfitted with shelving provided by Vidor’s own Taylor Made Custom Cabinets.  Then next summer, the Vidor Rotarians plan to deliver lunches Monday through Friday for six weeks in partnership with Vidor Independent School District. The district works to provide meals, given by the federal government’s food program, to students who may be missing those free school lunches in the summer, yet have no transportation to the school to eat what’s offered. The Rotarians will go to a school, load up at least fifty lunches, and hit the road….once again taking much needed food and reading material to Vidor’s children who often do without.  All of this from an idea, a plan, and the determination of the club that’s been dubbed “The Little Club That Could”