Indiana School Turns Unused Food Into Take-Home Weekend Meals for Needy Students

Without food and water, we won’t be able to function properly. And for children, the stakes are even higher, as they need nutritious food in order to grow, learn, and stay healthy every day.

No child should have to worry about their next meal and where it’s coming from, which is why a pilot program in Indiana is helping a school address their food shortage problem.

For many families in the US, the struggle to put decent food on the plate is real, with more than 12 million children facing hunger everyday according to Feeding America. This means that one in six children don’t know where they will receive their next meal from.  On top of that, there are millions of more families that are living on low income that are struggling to feed their children.

For many of those, it becomes a choice of paying for rent or paying for their child’s food. Those children need to be taken care of, as proper nutrition helps a child’s learning abilities, as well as combating developmental and chronic diseases.

Millions of children in the US rely solely on the food provided to them by the school cafeterias, which may mean they get only one meal a day. But what happens to those children on the weekends? While breakfast and lunch meals may make a difference, there’s still more that needs to be done to help the problem.

Elkhart Community Schools in Indian have come up with a great idea and are working together with Cultivate – a non-profit organization – to ensure children have enough food to take home at the weekends.

Jim Conklin, co-founder and board president of Cultivate told Today, “Our first focus is to collect food that has been prepared but never served from large food service organizations/businesses.”

He continued, “These organizations feed people on daily basis and many times they have surplus food because the number of people they feed everyday varies and is somewhat unpredictable.”

This means that kids who meet the criteria are able to take home pre-packaged frozen meals made by the school leftovers. They are able to take the meals home in order to meet them over the weekend.

The pilot program was supported by the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Academy Commerce, will allow 20 kids form the school to avail of eight frozen meals to take home every Friday.

CBS reported this would continue until the end of the school year.

Not only will this help ease the hunger program, but using unused foods from the school’s canteen will help cut down on the amount of food waste.

Melissa Ramey from the Chamber’s Leadership Academy said, “It’s making a big impact. I am proud of that. It was heartbreaking to hear that children go home on the weekends and that they don’t have anything to eat.”

The Elkhart Schools System, which has 14 elementary school, 3 middle schools, and 2 high schools in Indiana, hoped to introduce the innovative program into other schools. The school system is currently looking to expand on the food program as suggested by Fox News. It would be a great way to manage the food waste as well as providing much-needed food to hungry children.

It is an idea that is clearly thinking on the bigger scale.

What do you think of the meals program? Do you think it’s a good idea? Do you know anyone that could use the school program?

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