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House lawmakers, Salvation Army join forces to help hungry kids

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INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Division of The Salvation Army are teaming up this legislative session to increase awareness about child hunger.

House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) joined officials from The Salvation Army today at the Statehouse to launch a food and backpack donation drive.

“Some school children don’t want to leave school on Fridays because they don’t know where their next meal will come from,” Bosma said. “By joining forces with The Salvation Army, we hope to raise awareness about child hunger while providing backpacks filled with kid-friendly meals for students to take home for the weekend.”

In Indiana, 1 in 5 Hoosier youth face food insecurity or limited or uncertain access to adequate food, according to the Food Research and Action Center.

“We simply cannot accept the fact that so many children are unaware of where their next meal is coming from,” GiaQuinta said. “Children should be spending their time learning about the world around them and all that it has to offer, not worrying about the next time they can eat. They should not have to wait. Now is when their minds and bodies are starting to develop. Now is when we need to act to make sure they do not have to suffer from hunger.”

The Indiana House of Representatives is collecting new and gently used backpacks, and non-perishable food items like peanut butter, breakfast bars, cereal, canned fruit, crackers and oatmeal. On March 6, lawmakers plan to fill the backpacks at the Statehouse with collected food items, and The Salvation Army will distribute them to local schools across the state.

“Every day The Salvation Army provides hope to families,” said Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army in Indiana Major Bob Webster. “We are excited to work with our state legislators to provide hope in the form of a backpack filled with food, ensuring that a child will not have to wait 68 hours for the next meal.”

In addition to the donation drive, House lawmakers launched a social media campaign using #eliminate68 to draw attention to the number of hours a child could be hungry between school meals on Friday and Monday. Hoosiers can drop off donations outside of the House Chamber on the third floor of the Statehouse in Indianapolis through March 5, or make a monetary donation by contacting Susan Solmon at [email protected].

The Salvation Army has a longstanding reputation of providing nutritious meals to anyone in need, including through food pantries, meal programs and community gardens. Nationally, the organization provides 156,000 meals every single day. The Salvation Army Indiana Division operates 28 Worship and Service Centers in addition to many Salvation Army thrift stores throughout the state.

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