Kelly Cares partners with Cultivate Culinary to alleviate hunger for South Bend children

Kelly Cares partners with Cultivate Culinary to alleviate hunger for South Bend children

Free weekend meal service program for South Bend school children at Madison STEAM Academy marks the first of its kind in our community

South Bend, IN – February 22, 2019 – The Kelly Cares Foundation has teamed up with Cultivate Culinary to provide weekend meals to more than 100 South Bend children who are living in poverty and are food insecure. The pilot program is the first of its kind and will run from Feb. 8 to May 31 at Madison STEAM Academy for kindergarten and first-grade students. The program aims to relieve food insecurity by providing eight nutritious meals to students each weekend at no cost.

Each child will receive an insulated backpack at school on Fridays containing their meals. The children will return their empty backpacks to school on Mondays to receive meals the following Friday. The meals are meant for the children to eat, but they can be shared with family members.

Prepared by some of the best chefs in the community, the meals are of high nutritional value and offer a mixture of proteins, vegetables and starches. Some of the meals include chicken, quinoa, mixed vegetables, turkey, rice, green beans, sausage, eggs, oatmeal and chocolate chip pancakes. The meals are convenient and easy to make, with most requiring a five-minute cook time in the microwave.

The meals are prepared, assembled, packaged and labeled by volunteers at Cultivate Culinary. The food is donated from Notre Dame, Nelson's Catering and Barbecue, Century Center, Four Winds Casino, St. Joseph Health System, Beacon Health Systems, Rise N Roll Bakery, St. Hedwig and others. Surveys to assess the program's effectiveness will be conducted to students and their families throughout the program, with the goal of program expansion in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Nearly 98 percent of the students attending Madison STEAM Academy live in poverty. In addition to fulfilling students' nutritional needs, the school hopes to see improvements in school attendance, class behavior and academic performance.

“Brian and I both have backgrounds in education, so we understand the importance of creating a healthy and happy classroom environment,” said Paqui Kelly, Co-Founder of the Kelly Cares Foundation. “We are thrilled to work with Cultivate Culinary and Notre Dame to make a positive impact in these children's lives.”

“Cultivate is extremely excited about this pilot. We are so thankful for our food partners, donors and especially the support we have been given by the Kelly Cares Foundation and the University of Notre Dame,” said Jim Conklin, President and Co-Founder, Cultivate Culinary. “Our hope is that our meals will help the hard working teachers and administrators at Madison STEAM Academy in their efforts to educate their students and that the meals will help these students in their ability to learn in the classroom.”

“The University of Notre Dame is a partner in this community pilot that will aid young students and their families. We will play an evaluator role to measure the success of this initiative with the hope of growing it in the community,” said Jessica Brookshire, Associate Director for Public Affairs at the University of Notre Dame.

About Cultivate Culinary

As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, Cultivate Culinary is devoted to ending the cycle of joblessness, poverty, and hunger in the local communities of northern Indiana by providing a food rescue service and job training in the culinary arts.  In the first 18 months of their food rescue program, Cultivate Culinary has been able to rescue over 150,000 pounds of food, creating 90,000 meals for our community.

About Kelly Cares Foundation

Kelly Cares Foundation strengthens communities and inspires hope by investing resources to improve health and education. The Foundation has established itself as a “Playbook for Hope” for countless families, patients, caregivers, and students in its local Indiana community and beyond.

Since its founding in 2008 by Coach Brian and Paqui Kelly, the Kelly Cares Foundation has donated over $5 million to support causes locally, nationally and globally. Some notable organizations that have received contributions from the Kelly Cares Foundation include Bethel College, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund, the Declan Drumm Memorial Fund, Harper Cancer Research Institute, Saint Joseph Health System, and the University of Notre Dame.

To learn more about the Kelly Cares Foundation and its initiatives, visit

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Posted on February 25, 2019