TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- The Vigo County School Corporations Food Services does more than just plan out meals for the week. Food services also help those students who can't afford food.
It’s an issue they have been taking seriously for a while. Even more now after hearing the news that hunger rates are on the rise for the first time in seven years.
"I mean we've been pretty steady for the past four or five years. When I mean by steady I mean anywhere between fifty-five and fifty-seven percent," said Tom Lentes who is the food services coordinator for VCSC.
So far this year 56.4% of the Vigo County School Corporations students receive free or reduced meals. The program is funded by the USDA.
It covers the cost for these kids to get decent meals. It's a program that the school corporation says isn't going to waste.
"You go to those schools where they are in the 85, 90 percent, their plates are clean. I don't care what we have on them. They have eaten everything we can serve them," said Lentes.
Some of the schools have started up their own separate programs as well. Sarah Scott Middle School has its own food pantry which is used by a majority of the school. Nichelle Campbell is a social worker at the school who helps with the pantry almost every day.
"At least 80% of our students use this service if not more. Basler’s and Catholic Charities, we have people for ISU that donate to us,” said Campbell.
So far the pantry has been fully stocked for the school year. Helping these kids one meal at a time, but soon they will need to reach out for more support from the community.
"It just shows me that there is a great need for it and that we're doing something great that really impacts our community because our kids are part of this community and we want to make sure that we help them out as much as we can," said Campbell.
If you would like to learn more about the free or reduced meal program check out the school's corporations food services website here. If you would like to donate to the Sarah Scott Middle School Food Pantry Check out their website here.