By Andrew Longstreth
INDIANAPOLIS— Members of the Indiana House of Representative helped to feed hungry Hoosiers on Wednesday, filling backpacks with donated snacks and other food items that will be distributed to children in need.
Wednesday’s effort was part of a partnership that state representatives formed in January with the Salvation Army, starting a drive to collect backpacks and food. The donations were matched by Kroger grocery chain. In all, they collected more than 200 backpacks and 5,300 kid-friendly food items, including fruits, vegetables, soups, granola bars and peanut butter.
Speaker of the House Brian Bosma meets with members of the Salvation Army for their joint food drive
Photo by Andrew Longstreth TheStateHouseFile.com
The Salvation Army will deliver the backpacks to schools across Indiana to be given to needy students.
An estimated one in five Indiana kids face food insecurity, not knowing whether they can count on three meals a day, according to the Food Research & Action Center, a national non-profit working to eradicate hunger.
Beth Petrie, secretary for the Indiana Division of the Salvation Army, said child hunger, especially on weekends when schools are not supplying meals, is a bigger issue than people realize.
“Some kids go home and over the weekend, it’s iffy what they’re going to be able to have to eat over the weekend,” she said.
As she watched lawmakers stuff backpacks with food, Petrie said: “This is just fantastic, I think it’s a great partnership. It’s a great statement to the community of how the House of Representatives is working together with us and with other agencies throughout the state to do things that help people at the ground level.”
House lawmakers also started a social media campaign, using the hashtag slogan #eliminate68. That represents the estimated time of 68 hours between lunch at school on Friday to lunch on Monday.
Andrew Longstreth is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.