This school district is fighting hunger by giving students take-home meals made from unused cafeteria food

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A 2017 study found that an estimated one in eight Americans were food-insecure, which means that there is a lack of financial means to provide enough food for a household. The most vulnerable to food insecurity, unsurprisingly, are children. Adolescents who experience food insecurity struggle in school, as well as experience more health and mental health issues.

An Indiana school district is sending some students home with meals made out of unused cafeteria food. (Photo: WSBT)
An Indiana school district is sending some students home with meals made out of unused cafeteria food. (Photo: WSBT)

One Indiana school district is hoping to combat that by ensuring students have plenty to eat, even when they’re not on school grounds.

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WSBT reports that Elkhart Schools in South Bend, Ind. are working with a pilot program, debuting at Woodland Elementary, called Cultivate.

Students may expect their only meals to be the breakfast and lunch that is served at school, but the local nonprofit is helping to ensure a small group of kids have enough meals to last the weekend.

Cultivate rescues food that has been made but not served, either at catering companies or large food service businesses — and that includes school systems. Jim Conklin, president and co-founder of Cultivate, explained to the outlet that “over-preparing is just part of what happens.”

We take well-prepared food, combine it with other food and make individual frozen meals out if it,” Conklin explained. 

“At Elkhart Community Schools, we were wasting a lot of food,” Natalie Bickel in student services said. “There wasn’t anything to do with the food. So [Cultivate] came to the school three times a week and rescued the food.”

Some 20 students at Woodland Elementary will be given a backpack packed with eight frozen meals every Friday, until the end of the school year.

The Elkhart school system is hopeful that they will be able to expand the food program to other schools.

Cultivate did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

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