A school district in Indiana has teamed up with a nonprofit to prevent children in need from going without food once they leave the school premises.
According to Fox 32, students in Indiana's Elkhart School District are served breakfast and lunch at school, but the sad reality is that some of them may go hungry on nights and weekends. So, the school district has decided to join forces with an innovative nonprofit to ensures kids in need have enough to eat once they are at home. The nonprofit called Cultivate collects leftover food and repackages it into take-home meals. The charity's board president, Jim Conklin told WSBT: "Mostly, we rescue food that's been made but never served by catering companies, large food service businesses, like the school system," Conklin said.
Many schools over-prepare food and by saving the leftovers, the meals go back to the people they were originally prepared for, that is, kids. "Over-preparing is just part of what happens," Conklin said. "We take well-prepared food, combine it with other food and make individual frozen meals out if it."
At one elementary school in the district, 20 kids will get a backpack filled with food every Friday until the end of the school year. Each backpack will contain eight frozen meals which will help the family through the weekend.
Natalie Bickel, from the school district's student services department, said officials noticed they were wasting a lot of cafeteria food. Cultivate now comes to the school three times a week to salvage this food.
"It's making a big impact," said Melissa Ramey, who works for the town's Chamber of Commerce. "It was heartbreaking to hear that children go home on the weekends and that they don't have anything to eat."
Thanks to these backpacks filled with food, students and parents in need don't have to worry about going without food at home thanks to Cultivate and their school cafeteria. Cultivate Culinary was established in 2016 by Jim Conklin and Randy Ziolkowski with their mission being to train workers in the culinary arts.