The 2022-2023 School year has brought many new things to the students at Argos Community Schools, one of which is the partnership with Cultivate Food Rescue’s backpack program based out of South Bend.
Cultivate rescues food from large venues such as Notre Dame and repackages them into single meals for individuals.
Ned Speicher, Superintendent of Argos Community Schools, and Jon VanderWeele, President of Argos Community Development Corporation, met with a group from Cultivate prior to the school year to discuss how they can bring the program to Argos elementary and provide meals to food-insecure students.
One of the biggest hurdles was funding the program so they reached out to a few large businesses in the community. “When there is a need, the Argos community comes together to fill it” VanderWeele states. “Local business Ameri-Can and a few anonymous donors immediately partnered with the school to fund the program.”
Twenty students are currently funded at Argos Elementary. Kerry Johnson, Elementary Principal, and Statia Scaife, Elementary Guidance Counselor, oversee the program for the elementary school. Speicher adds “Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Scaife have done a tremendous job from identifying the families most in need to discretely placing the meals in student lockers on Friday afternoons. We are thankful for our staff, Cultivate, and the donations that make it all possible.”
Lainie Holland, Director of Planning and Programs at Cultivate shared “statistically families with food insecurities are shown to have high sodium diets due to the lower cost of processed food. Our staff chefs take great care in the meal preparation to ensure they are low sodium and nutritious.”
Each student receives six meals to bring home with them for the weekend. Due to the donated funds received, Argos was able to extend the program and supply students with meals over fall break. They are also planning to help students during winter break and hoping to be able to fund some type of summer relief as well. “Leading up to long breaks we see a correlation between our food insecure students and behavior in the classrooms” states Johnson. “They are stressed and uncertain if they will have food for a long period of time. We are thrilled to be able to help provide meals alleviating some of that stress for our students going into breaks.”
The Argos community has donated in many ways. Bulldawgs Argos Drive-In and Argos United Methodist Church have both hosted fundraisers, and a large anonymous donation was given in honor of former longtime Argos principal and superintendent Gerald Hess. If you are interested in donating, please contact the school corporation at 574-892-5139.
Argos Community Schools has always followed the tradition of providing quality instruction to all students so that they can achieve success in learning. As a one campus k-12 school corporation, the goal is to maintain excellence to ensure the success of every child. Learn more about this high-achieving school at www.argos.k12.in.us.