Fueling our schools

Fueled For School partners with NHS students and community to provide food for children in need as the holiday season approaches

Ian Pigors and Hailey Durm

 With Christmas swiftly approaching, and Thanksgiving just a few short weeks ago, the holiday season is in full swing. For many adults, the holidays are a time to give, receive, and enjoy time with their loved ones. For kids, the thought of opening up that shiny new toy wrapped in traditional paper gives a creative juxtaposition alongside the Christmas tree; something they long for all year. But for some kids, the thought of a shiny new toy is an afterthought, clouded by the growling of an empty stomach and pondering what Santa’s notorious cookies and milk might taste like. 

 At Fueled For School, members of the Noblesville community strive for a goal to end child hunger in Hamilton County, along with participating  in the ultimate spirit of the holidays: giving to something bigger than themselves. 

 Audra Shock, a Resource Teacher at Hinkle Creek Elementary School and the Vice President for Fueled For School, came upon the idea while working with her dad setting up a social media page for a local food bank, and ended up helping out with volunteer work for the organization itself.  

 “Soon, I found myself sorting cans, going on shopping trips, and picking up donated produce with my dad,” Shock said. 

 A few years later, according to Shock, is when the idea for Fueled for School was born. 

 “A group of  teachers volunteered together at a local food bank in 2017.  This volunteer trip was the inspiration for Fueled For School. Fueled For School founder,  Kristina Trusty, saw a need and created the non-profit…to address the need,” Shock said. 

 When it comes to their mission, Fueled For School sticks to a simple approach, stemming from the compassion that the organization runs on. 

     “Fueled For School delivers each meal pack with a sincere intention to spread love, express compassion, and engender hope in the families we serve,
“ Shock said.

 Volunteering typically involves community work, and oftentimes food drives are organized by churches, businesses, and organizations.

  “Our amazing volunteers do a lot of different things at Fueled For School,” Shock said. “Often they come in and sort food. Sometimes volunteers do a food drive with their church, organization, or business and bring the donations to us. Sometimes volunteers come in and help assemble the meal packs that go to the students. We also have volunteers that drive the weekend meal packs to the schools.” 

 Noblesville High School students have been able to get involved in the volunteering as well, including student-led organizations making an impact towards accomplishing Fueled for School’s mission.

 Amelia Jarrett, a sophomore, was able to participate in the Mayor’s Youth Council’s partnership with Fueled For School last holiday season.

 “We got to pick which committees we were on and that’s how I chose the Fueled For School committee. It really spoke to me in the way that we were helping kids in our community and people we went to school with. The way we were able to put together meal packages that get sent to each school, which get sent to certain elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, etc was special,” Jarrett said. 

 Junior Tyler Ashby was also on last year’s Fueled for School committee through the Mayor’s Youth Council, and also emphasizes the feeling of fulfillment that exists in being able to participate on the committee.

 “It’s very rewarding, especially when you’re helping other people who are less fortunate. It’s [also] humbling realizing that there are people where you live struggling and not knowing where or when their next meal is gonna be,” Ashby said. 

  According to Shock, these students along with other NHS students in their respective clubs and groups have played an important role in Fueled For School’s efforts. 

 “The high school students have definitely played a huge part in helping to make sure their friends and neighbors have enough food. Some of the organizations that have volunteered or donated food include the Noblesville Mayor’s Youth Council, NHS student Government, the theater department,  NHS Peonies, NHS Orchestra, and the Noblesville girls lacrosse and soccer teams,” Shock continues, “The girls soccer team has picked up all the donated food from the food drives at the elementary schools. They stayed to help sort all the donated food also.”

 Fueled for school is a program that emphasizes the gift of giving before receiving, and the ultimate goal is to continue to spread the organization’s goals to feed all hungry children in Hamilton County.  For Jarrett, making sure the program’s goals continue to be more well known is of utmost importance. 

 “A lot of people don’t know about this program but with more volunteers they could make an even bigger impact on the community. It’s really special in that you know the impact you are making on the community and people your age,” Jarrett said.