Noblesville, Indiana-based nonprofit Fueled for School alleviates hunger in local schools by distributing nutritious meal packs to students experiencing food insecurity, promoting the educational value of nutrition and improving access to local food.
Food for thought
In 2017, a group of Hinkle Creek Elementary School teachers pitched in for a day at a local food bank. While volunteering, they learned the food bank put together weekend meal packs for students in a neighboring school district. Inquiring further, they discovered that every district in Hamilton County had a weekend meal pack program except Noblesville Schools.
That seed of discovery grew into Fueled for School, a nonprofit committed to eliminating food insecurity in Noblesville’s schools.
Operated by a small team of Noblesville teachers and school staff who have witnessed firsthand students going without proper meals, Fueled for School sends home hundreds of hungry students with meal packs to keep them nourished on weekends, holiday breaks and even summer vacation.
“Nearly one in four students in Noblesville Schools experiences food insecurity,” says Kristina Trusty, executive director of Fueled for School. “Feeding those students not only reduces the stress of persistent hunger, but is instrumental in helping them focus and succeed academically.”
Over the past five years, Fueled for School has raised more than $300,000 to support food donations and served over 500,000 meals to students.
“Nearly one in four students in Noblesville Schools experiences food insecurity.”
–Kristina Trusty, executive director of Fueled for School
An agency rallies community support
Fueled for School’s all-volunteer staff has achieved these milestones with the help of financial and in-kind contributions from community partners, notably WalkerHughes Insurance.
One of Fueled for School’s most ardent supporters – Kristina Trusty’s husband Dennis – serves as WalkerHughes’ director of technology. A few years ago, Dennis alerted the agency to the important work Fueled for School was doing for the community’s children, nominating it for WalkerHughes’ Charity of the Quarter program.
Since then, WalkerHughes has partnered with Fueled for School to raise awareness and attract financial support to address food insecurity in the schools. For example, through its Charity of the Quarter program, the agency made a donation for each client referral it received over three months.
WalkerHughes’ marketing team also offered to create a promotional video that the nonprofit could share to its social media pages.
“We have donated financially, we have donated food and we have donated our time,” says Stephanie Marsh, WalkerHughes’ director of client engagement. “But it was most rewarding to donate our marketing talents to help Fueled for School raise its profile in the community.”
One Noblesville resident sponsored Fueled for School for a matching grant of up to $15,000 – and WalkerHughes’ ongoing marketing support helped make sure the nonprofit received every last dollar.
“We have donated financially, we have donated food and we have donated our time. But it was most rewarding to donate our marketing talents to help Fueled for School raise its profile in the community.”
– Stephanie Marsh, director of client engagement at WalkerHughes
Every dollar raised feeds a child
Some community partners, such as the Gatewoods Vegetable Farm and Greenhouses, provide fresh produce that the nonprofit includes in its school break and holiday meal boxes. Others contribute funds that help pay for food.
Fueled for School’s board is entirely unpaid, so all donations go toward feeding students and educating families to promote food self-sufficiency.
A grant of $10,000 would provide 2,000 weekend meal kits – or cover meals for all the children in the program for an entire eight-week summer break.