INDIANAPOLIS — A Wayne Township school is making sure families have access to food in last-minute emergency situations.  

Chapelwood Elementary School administrators say they know some families struggle to put food on the table, and sometimes the need for a meal comes up faster than they can get help, so this box is meant to fill the gap. 

It’s a small box in front of the school with everyday non-perishable essentials for a quick meal. 

It’s not meant to provide groceries for a long time, but more to make sure families have food for the night or morning. 

“You know I think it’s so important. It’s one less thing to worry about. Parents have so much going on, families have so much going on that knowing that, ‘Gosh I don’t have to stop at the grocery tonight, I don’t have to dig around for the money to purchase something,’” said parent liaison and social worker Michelle Stohler. 

“I can one stop and go, and that’s why they do. So, we don’t have people coming and taking weeks’ worth of groceries, this is really to meet the need of an immediate need.”

They work with community partners to help keep it stocked and they re-fill it a few times a week. 

Families who go to the school and even community members are welcomed to help themselves to what they need. 

“It means everything because when kids don’t eat, we know that they struggle in school. So, for us it’s to make sure we are providing for, especially our children with the nutrition that they need, those basic needs are met, and they are able to concentrate in school,” said Chapelwood Elementary School principal Terri Alexander Matthews. 

“So, of course as an educator, that is what my ultimate goal is. To make sure their basic needs are met, so we can help them learn.” 

The school also hosts a once-a-month food pantry. 

The Blessing Box is meant to fill the gap in times when families can’t get to those bigger resources. For example, if a parent gets off work late after the food bank is closed and they don’t have enough money to buy dinner that night — they can get items from the box. 

“We have many families who work after hours and so they can’t go to a pantry. They’re sleeping during the day and going to second shift. Some may be working two shifts,” Stohler said. 

“They need a place to go like ours where they can just come up and pull their car up, get a couple of things for breakfast tomorrow morning for the kids and then go on about their business.”

The box came to be during the pandemic when the school saw an increase in need. 

Anyone interested in becoming a community partner and donating to the box can contact the school.