The Patachou Foundation: Solving hunger one meal at a time

One local organization is working to hard to bring food to those in need. (WISH Photo/ Howard Monroe)
One local organization is working to hard to bring food to those in need. (WISH Photo/ Howard Monroe)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis is still grappling with a huge hunger issue.

In 2014, a Walk Score report said the city was the worst in the nation for food desert. That means people have to travel the farthest to get to a grocery store.

“There is hunger in our backyard and we’re here to solve that problem,” said Matthew Feltrop, the executive director of The Patachou Foundation.

For three and a half years, the foundation has been feeding hungry kids in the city.

“Indianapolis is our home and we want to make a difference with hunger here in this city,” said Feltrop.

Over 300 kids are fed every week, after school. Some of them two or three times a week.

“We do, as a school serve breakfast, lunch, even a fruit and vegetable snack. But some of our kids definitely need the dinner option that The Patachou Foundation fills for them,” said Ross Pippin, the principal of Thomas Gregg Elementary.

The foundation serves kids in eight IPS schools that have higher than average poverty rates.

But the kids aren’t just fed, they’re also taught about food from around the world.

Some of the lessons are taught in a classroom setting where they’re taught recipes and table manners. But they also get to try some of the food.

“My favorite part is when we get to try different things because I never tried it before,” said Ke’juan Rudolph, a 9-year-old at the school.

On this day, they were served different sauces including hummus, pesto, pico de gallo, and marsala.

However, most of their teachings happen in a garden in Broad Ripple.

“For them to see where it comes from really kind of transforms their perception about food, and that experience around food,” said Feltrop.

The garden is on the Monon Trail, adjacent to Public Greens restaurant. All of the profits from the restaurant go to help feed these kids. And the kids are eating food from the garden.

“We’re taking food, nutritious, locally grown when it’s possible food to school kids and we don’t believe that just belongs in certain zip codes,” said Feltrop.

Since Public Greens opened two years ago, diners have given $30,000 to help feed the city’s hungry children.

Since 2013, the foundation has served over 32,000. But they said the kids also benefit from having positive interactions with adults. Much of the work is done by volunteers.

“A little kid shouldn’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from,” said Lindsey Reuter, who began volunteering with the foundation over the summer.

Reuter is one of 125 volunteers.

“Food is the biggest equalizer. and that can bring everyone together and it feels really good to know that someone is getting that basic need met,” said Reuter.

The Patachou Foundation says its always looking for volunteers.  For more on the organization, click here.