Indiana School Turns Leftover Food Into Take-Home Meals for Kids in Need


cafeteria food turned into take-home meals cover image

How much perfectly good food have you seen thrown in the trash at your school? The amount of food that goes to waste is painful to watch when some students have nothing in the fridge at home because mom and dad are barely making enough to keep the lights on.

This is the case for about 13% of children between the ages of 5 to 17 living in Elkhart County, just outside of South Bend, Indiana. According to census data, that’s the percentage of families living in poverty. That’s a lot of students who go to school relying on free or discounted food for lunch, which can sometimes be their only meal of the day. Then sometimes, they’re lucky to have any proper meals over the weekends.

Until now.

A food-rescue nonprofit organization by the name of Cultivate has taken the charge of turning leftover cafeteria food into frozen meals at Woodland Elementary School, in Elkhart County. These meals are packaged and given to students in need to take home over the weekend.

Mostly, we rescue food that’s been made but never served by catering companies, large food service businesses, like the school system.”

– Jim Conklin, Co-Founder of Cultivate Culinary School and Catering

They’ve started with a pilot program with about 20 students only a week ago, and the participating kids and parents are overjoyed. The children are given cooler-backpacks filled with 8 frozen, well-balanced meals packaged in recyclable containers on Fridays before the weekend.

Our goal is to feed hungry kids, and we want to see improved school performance, whether it’s academic, behavior, or attendance. This backpack program was close to our hearts,”

Conklin told the Washington Post.

Cultivate runs another pilot program at a nearby school in South Bend, where 100 students receive weekend meals.

Another story that restores a little more of our faith in humanity!

Indiana School Turns Leftover Food Into Take-Home Meals for Kids in Need

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