A new initiative at an Indiana school is trying to make sure fewer kids go hungry.
Elkhart Community Schools recently launched a program in partnership with the nonprofit Cultivate Culinary, which provides nutritious meals to those in need, among other things.
“There is just a need,” Natalie Bickel, the supervisor of student services, told InsideEdition.com. “Our kids are hungry.”
In the Elkhart Community school district, 64 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch. In the fall, six staff workers helped come up with the idea to start a pilot program to combat the problem.
Cultivate Culinary is taking leftover lunch food and food from local businesses to make meals for the students and then freezes them so they can take them home. Twenty students will go home with eight meals to eat over the weekend each week.
Each meal includes a protein, starch and vegetable.
gram kicked off at Woodland Elementary on March 29 and will go every Friday until the end of the year, serving kids kindergarten through sixth grade.
When the program launched, Bickel said there were “lots of smiles” from the students.
“I think there were also a lot of tears from the teachers,” she added.
The hope is to continue the program and extend it to more children and additional schools, Bickel said.
“I know when students go home hungry during the breaks and during the weekends, that’s not a happy time,” Bickel said.
Thankfully, the district is trying to make a dent in that issue.