Photo provided
Kristina Trusty packs the first meals on Thursday for the Noblesville Schools Meal Pack Program.
Photo provided Kristina Trusty packs the first meals on Thursday for the Noblesville Schools Meal Pack Program.
The first of many weekend meals will be sent home to approximately 200 Noblesville children in need this weekend.
Kristina Trusty, Hinkle Creek kindergarten teacher, started the Noblesville Schools Meal Pack Program to will provide meals to children every weekend of every month. These meals will have a variety of items that will be consistent and child friendly.
Trusty heard of other meal pack programs in the area and realized Noblesville could benefit from a similar program. The Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank has been mentoring and providing advice to Trusty throughout the process.
“When it was brought to my attention that surrounding areas were putting meal programs in place for children with food insecurities at home,” Trusty said. “I knew that this was something that Noblesville children would benefit from.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, 12.3 percent of households were food insecure in 2016.
Elementary students were recently sent home with a letter asking their parents to respond if they would like their children to be included in this free of charge program.
“Hamilton County isn’t untouched when it comes to food insecurities at home,” Trusty said. “While children are at school, we can guarantee two hot meals a day for those in need. My concern is what happens from Friday night until Monday morning.”
The Noblesville Schools Meal Pack Program will provide four to six small meals every Friday that will be easy for an elementary age student to a make with very little help or none at all.
Members of the community and Trusty gathered at Ivy Tech on Thursday to pack the first meals of the program to be sent home with students on Friday.
The program currently has a fundraising campaign called “Give Food. Give Love.” The campaign had a unique food drive within the seven elementary schools earlier this month. Between January 29 and February 9, the district collected 5,280 pounds of food. Each school was assigned a specific food to bring in. Students brought in items like canned meals, oatmeal, or peanut butter. The campaign also is selling shirts to raise money. For every shirt sold, one child will receive 4 weekends worth of meals.
“Our teachers give to children every day and are compassionate leaders in our community,” said Dr. Beth Niedermeyer, Noblesville Schools superintendent. “We’re thankful that Kristina is spearheading this effort on behalf of students in Noblesville and proud of the support that the Give Food, Give Love initiative has received from fellow Noblesville Schools staff, parents and community members.”
This is currently a pilot program serving only elementary school students. In the future, Trusty hopes to extend the program into middle school as phase two, and then eventually high school as phase three.
The program welcomes donations. It is currently in need of fruit or applesauce cups.
To support the Noblesville Schools Meal Pack Program by donating or volunteering, email givefoodgivelove@gmail.com. To buy a $20 t-shirt, visit https://noblemealpack.itemorder.com/sale.