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McCullough Academy Students Receive Weekend Meals

On Friday, January 13, 100 scholars from Frankie Woods McCullough Academy went home for the weekend with their backpacks filled with nutritious food, thanks to the National Backpack Program, spearheaded by the Northern Indiana Chapter of The Links – Black K.A.R.E. grant.

The Black K.A.R.E. (Kidney Awareness Resources and Education) program targets health tribulations in the African American community. The Black K.A.R.E. project is in its second year thanks to the support of organizations that align with the mission to address Chronic Kidney Disease through preventive initiatives.

“Our program teaches children the importance of good nutrition and its role of preventing chronic kidney disease, diabetes and heart disease,” said Dr. LaVada Taylor, President of the Northern Indiana Chapter of The Links.

This year’s program at McCullough Academy was funded through Purdue Northwest, which contributed $23,000. The meals are put together weekly by the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and will continue each week until the end of the school year.

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Taylor (black Jacket) from the Links helps McCullough students with their backpacks.

“Food security remains a barrier for education in our communities,” said Purdue Northwest’s Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Dr. Kenneth Holford. “It’s a fundamental need that contributes to the success in learning.”

In conjunction with the daily food insecurities that hundreds of children experience, the program is geared toward filling the gap with healthy alternatives in hopes of preventing childhood obesity and other health issues later in life.

“Our mission at the food bank is to feed people today and end hunger tomorrow by inspiring and collaborating with our community, and this program exemplifies this,” said Victor Garcia, president/CEO of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.

Students received their book bags during a Friday press conference, which included the aforementioned community partners.

“It’s a blessing to see the community coming out to help our kids,” said McCullough Academy Principal Sharmayne McKinley.

“It has a lasting impact for our students to actually see the faces of the community members responsible for the program. We continue to welcome you and others to our school.”

Families in the Gary Community School Corporation in need are supported through many initiatives in addition to the Backpack Program. For resources and support, contact the school F.A.C.E. Liaison at any school in the Gary Community School Corporation.

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