Brendan rolls the cart out while Christopher carries a box filled with apples to a bus outside. Once loaded up, there is one more stop to pick up items collected by a Kindergarten class at Pleasant View Elementary also in Zionsville then it’s off to the pantry.
On the way, Christopher lights up when he talks about how he counted the items in the box and how he likes to help other people. He and Brendan chat about how much they like Food Rescue. Once the bus pulls up to the church, two men are waiting out front. One of them shouts, “the kids are here,” and helps with the doors.
Once inside, Christopher and Brendan receive a warm welcome from the volunteers before they get to work organizing the donations on tables and in a nearby refrigerator. “Brendan always puts the cold food away,” Bibler says with a smile. “He is very particular how the food is organized,” she added. For the Zionsville Food Pantry, the Food Rescue donations are a Godsend. “We get a lot of fresh fruit and a variety we normally wouldn’t have,” said volunteer Vicki Dusek. “We were never able to offer single serve items before and now we have a steady supply,” said volunteer Angie Campbell. “This food gives kids who come home before their parents an opportunity to feed themselves,” she added. The pantry feeds more than 100 families every week in Boone County and the need is never ending.
Delivering the food not only gives these kids help with interpersonal skills, it shows them first-hand what they can accomplish with hard work. They have built a relationship with the volunteers here who genuinely love seeing them each week. After hugs and high-fives, Christopher and Brendan head back out to the bus to go back to class.
In all, about seven of Chelsea Bibler’s students work on the Food Rescue program. The group rescues around 200 good food items a week that now goes to feed those in need instead of a landfill. “This program is so rewarding and has been a gift to these students,” Bibler said. “My kids get the chance to interact with other students during lunch while collecting food and that is helping to build our Best Buddies program. Other kids get to see that there is no reason to treat these students any differently,” said Bibler.
We have many different kinds of groups engage in Food Rescue programs from Kindergarten to High School and all of them are doing astounding work. What is happening inside of Chelsea Bibler’s class is no exception. It is amazing and honestly flat out inspiring to witness the compassion and dedication of these kids while knowing they are also learning so many other skills indirectly through their work. In a sense, it is magical to watch the whole process unfold. Talk about a win-win!
If you would like to know more about getting a Food Rescue program going at your school, go to our website at www. Foodrescue.net for more information.