Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

Unused School Lunch Foods Are Being Turned Into Frozen Meals for Hungry Kids

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A South Bend, Indiana school is combatting both waste and hunger in their district by rethinking the way they handle school lunch.

Do you pack your child’s lunch? If you do, oh my gosh! We have so many super fun ideas! Your kids will be the envy of all their little friends. Read to the bottom of the post for a list of reader favorites. You’ll be glad you did.

School Lunch Is Even More Important Than You Thought

Every year it seems as though there is at least one new, painful story about a school who wouldn’t let kids eat because they didn’t have any lunch money. It destroys me. You, too? To think about even one kiddo going without lunch because of money makes my blood boil and tears overflow.

That lunch, for many kids, is the only decent meal they’ll eat that day. That doesn’t mean they have uncaring parents. It means there isn’t enough money to go around.

I always wonder what happens when those kiddos get home, whether they’ve eaten lunch at school or not. It’s upsetting to imagine that for many children, they either aren’t going to eat, or they are going to eat “bad” food because unhealthy stuff is often cheaper.

A Non-Profit Called Cultivate Is Trying to Fix the Problem

Cultivate, located in Indiana, is proud to say they feed people and eliminate waste. They want to end the cycle of hunger in the state and they do that, in part, by rescuing food.

When a business has more food than they can serve, most of them throw the food in the dumpster. I’ve even heard of some places pouring bleach on the food they toss to prevent anyone from digging around and eating it. Can you believe that?

Cultivate knows that this is good food that could keep a child from going hungry at home. That’s why they have partnered with the schools in South Bend to collect and distribute surplus food to students. The cool thing is that the surplus food actually comes from the school’s own cafeteria.

“Mostly, we rescue food that’s been made but never served by catering companies, large foodservice businesses, like the school system,” Jim Conklin, President, and Co-Founder of Cultivate told the local news station. “You don’t always think of a school.”

Cultivate volunteers pick up the food from the school and prepare good, frozen meals that are then sent home with kiddos who need them. They get 8 frozen, individual meals from food that was otherwise going into the dumpster.

What a wonderful, kind idea. Makes me wonder why in the world this isn’t the case across the entire United States. What do you think? Should your community try something like what’s happening in South Bend? If you know of any other programs like this one, tell us about it.

And now, the promised super fun School Lunch ideas!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about how cute these are.

Winnie the Pooh Lunch
Sheep Bento Lunch
Spiderman Lunch
Funky Monkey Lunch
Halloween Dracula Lunch
Birdhouse Lunch

If you try one or more of these, come back and tell us in the comments how it turned out for you and whether your kids loved it. There are oodles of these fun ideas on the blog, so search around and find something your kids will flip for!

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