Local school fighting stigma of hunger

backpack-food-program

BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) – No child should ever have to wonder where his or her next meal is coming from. But it’s a reality one in five children face.

Northview High School is taking control of this issue by providing food for students in need. Retired teachers volunteer their time to fill grocery sacks full of food for students in need.

“There’s a little guy that loves his oatmeal and he gets the biggest smile when he gets his oatmeal,” said volunteer Donna Buell.

65 students at Northview High School pick up a sack full of snacks and easy meals each Friday afternoon. This is the second year for the program.

“Actually it was a burden on my heart to know they were going to go home and maybe have one small meal or some would have zero amount of food for the weekend,” said Northview’s Assistant Principal Debbie Zimmerman. “So we knew something could be done here.”

Zimmerman started the backpack program for those students who might not have food on the table that night.

But with more than 1,000 students enrolled and only 65 accepting the help, she knows this number is nowhere near the point it should be.

“If we would be servicing every student in need we could and should be running a couple hundred a week plus,” said Zimmerman.

The program is trying new ways to break the stigma of hunger. They switched from matching backpacks to everyday grocery bags.

Teachers now give students a slip to pick up the food rather than delivering it to their classrooms.

“We’re just happy we can do this for them because we know it’s needed,” said Buell.

“We just need to stress, more importantly than anything, please come and take,” said Zimmerman.

Any student at Northview High School or Cumberland Academy can sign up for the program by contacting Debbie Zimmerman at (812) 448-2661 x1202 or zimmermd@clay.k12.in.us