Patachou Foundation expands mission to feed young Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In the five years of its mission, the Patachou Foundation work has dramatically grown. The nonprofit served afterschool meals to only 90 children in 2013. Today, it's now feeding approximately 1,200 students.

This year, Patachou Foundation partners with eight different schools, seven elementary and one middle school. Most are located on the near east side. The foundation and its volunteers work with school administrators to provide meals to students between three and five days a week, usually between 4 and 6 p.m.

"Since we started in 2013, we’ve certainly grown from serving at one location to now we are serving at eight different schools across town," said Matthew Feltrop, the executive director for the Patachou Foundation. "We're serving not just 1,800 meals a year but up to 35,000 a meal a year. So, it’s been really exponential in growth."

Each school day, the foundation prepares food and volunteers take it to an Indianapolis school. Feltrop said the need is high as one out of every five students in Marion County is food insecure.

"There’s definitely a gap when it comes to after school," Feltrop said. "Unfortunately, a great deal of them don’t have a dinner ready for them."

Funds for the food started with the local Patachou Inc. restaurants. While there are still donations from the public, the foundation still gets revenue from the restaurants and Public Greens, which opened in late 2014. All of its profits are sent to the foundation, making both local restaurant chains the largest contributor to helping feed young people.

The mission also includes summer camps, which not only provide meals Monday through Friday during summer break, and some other non-school days through the year, but teaches students about the source of their food.

"We teach them to appreciate the food that is on their plate," said Feltrop.

Five years of work and the foundation isn't done. Its next goal is to further the work at the eight schools it already serves, striving to provide meals each day to students there.

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