Cultivate Food Rescue is helping to end the cycle of hunger in northern Indiana by building a local network of food suppliers and providing wholesome meals to those who need them.
According to the USDA, more than 34 million people — including 9 million children — in the United States are food insecure. Food insecurity make it challenging for people to lead active, healthy lives, and can even be life-threatening.
Luckily, there are organizations like Cultivate Food Rescue that make incredible strides for food insecure people in their communities and encourage others to help out and get involved. Cultivate serves the communities of northern Indiana by rescuing food from local universities, grocery stores, butchers and food distribution centers and making healthy, nutritious meals for people in need.
“We are proud to partner with Cultivate Food Rescue and dedicate our time and resources to making a difference in children’s lives.”
– Karen Wilson, marketing manager at Synergy Insurance Group
Backpacks full of care
The team at Synergy Insurance first heard about Cultivate because of the nonprofit’s Backpack Program, which serves around 1,200 students by providing them with six nutritious frozen meals for the weekend. With several Synergy team members having children in elementary school and partners who work in the education system, this cause was right up their alley, and they were eager to get involved.
Soon enough, the team was planning quarterly volunteer days, where they’d help make food, package meals and fill backpacks for local students to take home during non-school hours. “We recently had a team of 13 employees spend the morning packaging almost 1,400 meals,” said Karen Wilson, marketing manager at Synergy Insurance Group. “We are proud to partner with Cultivate Food Rescue and dedicate our time and resources to making a difference in children’s lives.”
Food for all
The Backpack Program is one of Cultivate’s most popular programs. Together with the Cultivate Cares Food Network, Cultivate’s web-based food distribution program that provides nearly one million pounds of food to over 100 different community pantries every year, these two programs reach about 50,000 people every month. Rescuing food also reduces harmful greenhouse gases emitted by landfills, where this food would otherwise end up.
“Synergy Insurance Group has become a valued part of this community and has had a big impact on the success of our programs.”
– Jim Conklin, co-founder and executive director at Cultivate Food Rescue
“None of this would be possible without our amazing community partners: food donors, financial supporters, volunteers, schools and pantries,” said Jim Conklin, co-founder and executive director at Cultivate. “Synergy Insurance Group has become a valued part of this community and has had a big impact on the success of our programs.”
In addition to regularly volunteering with the Backpack Program, Synergy employees also volunteer at Cultivate’s annual golf outing and annual Taste of Hope fundraiser. They help with ushering, parking coordination, registration ticket sales, cleanup and more. They also love to invite clients to these fun events — community members love attending the annual fundraiser where they can try tapas-style dishes from local restaurants and organizations who work with Cultivate.
Time spent together
The employees at Synergy love knowing they are helping people in their community, and they see the positive impacts this has on their agency culture as well. “Volunteering as a team is so fun!” Wilson shared. “The time spent together, casually dressed and in a different setting, really solidifies our team and helps set the tone for the week.”
A $10,000 award from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance would help Cultivate rescue around 9,091 pounds of food and provide meals for around 7,273 individuals through the pantry and backpack programs. It would also reduce Cultivate’s carbon footprint by 1,545 kgCO2e. Now that’s a winning combination!