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School District Turning Unused Cafeteria Food into Take-Home Frozen Meals for Students In-Need

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In an effort to make sure students have enough to eat, one school district is taking unused cafeteria food and turning it into take-home meals. Many students from low-income families may receive breakfast and lunch at school but could be left hungry on weekends. The district joined forces with a nonprofit to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The Indiana school district partnered with Cultivate, a South Bend-based nonprofit, to create the program, according to a report by CBS News.

“Mostly, we rescue food that’s been made but never served by catering companies, large food service businesses, like the school system,” said Jim Conklin, the nonprofit’s board president.

Many school’s overprepare food since demand can be hard to anticipate. The program ensures that any remaining food goes back to the children it was originally made to feed.

“Over-preparing is just part of what happens,” said Conklin. “We take well-prepared food, combine it with other food and make individual frozen meals out if it.”

At one of the district’s elementary schools, 20 kids will receive backpacks filled with food each Friday. The eight frozen meals are meant to help the families over the weekend, and the program is expected to run until the school year ends.

Cultivate comes to the school three times a week to collect the unused food that makes up the frozen meals.

“It’s making a big impact,” said Melissa Ramey, a local Chamber of Commerce employee. “It was heartbreaking to hear that children go home on the weekends and that they don’t have anything to eat.”

Thanks to the program, students who may otherwise go hungry won’t have to be as worried about when they will have their next meal. Additionally, they will know that the “rescued” food meals were made just for them.