A small business located near Caulksville is receiving notoriety and praise for food service carts it’s making for the No Kid Hungry organization in Arkansas.
The carts, which are used to deliver food to students in schools, are made by Green’s Custom Wood and Metal, housed in a shop on Shadow Oaks Lane, a few miles north of Highway 22. The owner of the business is John Green.
The No Kid Hungry campaign was created by Share Our Strength. No Kid Hungry is sponsored by Walmart, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Gov. Mike Beebe, First Lady Ginger Beebe, Tyson and Weight Watchers. NKH’s breakfast programs serve 55 percent of Arkansas students.
Green got the job of making the carts when Patty Barker, director of the Arkansas No Kid Hungry initiative, was looking for food service carts on line and wasn’t happy with what she found.
"I told Anne (Sneed) I was looking for carts, went on line and didn’t find what we were looking for," Barker said. Sneed, who formerly worked for the Paris School District, was helping Barker write grants for NKH. "Anne said she knew some people who had done some work for the school and she contacted them."
Sneed contacted Green and told him what was needed. The carts have wells for containing food, storage space and can be customized with school colors and logos and laminated tops. And they cost less than what was found on line.
"The carts we found on line, the price was high, $4,000," Barker said. "The ones we found on line weren’t personalized."
Green’s carts are sold for $2,700, Barker said.
"We were ecstatic," Barker said. "The people in Washington were really excited that we’re using carts built in Arkansas. We’re very happy and the school’s are happy. We’ll continue to use them to build carts. We’ve had several people from outside our state tell us they have never seen anything like these carts."
Green, who designed the carts, said he was contacted about building carts last summer. He’s built more than 20 since then and has had to hire two additional people.
And the carts are now open to schools across the country, according to Sneed.
"What we’re doing here was mentioned at the National Governors Conference," Sneed said. "Other states are wanting to replicate this program."
Green has been in the cabinet-making business for 14 years. He worked for Steve Young of Caulksville for seven years before Young retired. He’s been on his own for the last seven years.
Green is looking forward to making more of them.
"We’ll build as many as come our way," he said. "We’re doing it with more quality and a lower price."
And then, gesturing toward his 40 by 120-foot shop, he said, "If this gets going on a national level, it’ll be like a factory in here."