School district turns unused cafeteria food into frozen, take-home meals for kids

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNN/WSBT) -- An Indiana school district is taking steps to make sure kids have enough to eat.

(Source: WSBT via CNN)

Elkhart Community Schools teamed up with a non-profit group called Cultivate to create a pilot program that will provide weekend meals for a small group of children.

"Mostly we rescue food that's been made but never served by catering companies, large food service businesses, like the school system. You don't always think of a school system," said Jim Conklin, Cultivate.

According to WSBT, 20 kids will receive a backpack with eight individual frozen meals every Friday until the end of the school year. The meals will be made using food that cafeteria workers prepared but never served.

"We were wasting a lot of food. There wasn't anything to do with the food and so they came to schools three times a week and rescued our food," said Natalie Bickel, student services. "So they're going back to cultivate processing the food and coming right back to our students."

The Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Academy Commerce helped get the pilot program going.

“It’s making a big impact,” said Melissa Ramey, Chamber Leadership Academy. “I am proud of that. It was heartbreaking to hear that children go home on the weekends and that they don't have anything to eat.”

The Elkhart school system plans to expand the food program to other schools.