RMHC and Cultivate Food Rescue work together to provide for families in need

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A community that helps one another, works together! And that is exactly what the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana and Cultivate Food Rescue decided to do. The two, local nonprofits came together at a time when support was needed the most.

RMHC of Michiana serves families of the ill children staying at Beacon Children’s hospital, and Cultivate Food Rescue is devoted to ending the cycle of hunger in local communities. While the missions might seem different, the two, have united.

The COVID-19 crisis had a heavy impact on the RMHC of Michiana, causing them to shut down to visitors and ultimately, take a major hit on volunteers. Enter Cultivate Food Rescue. In order to alleviate the volunteer shortage, Cultivate started delivering meals 5 days a week for 9 months.

For the RMHC of Michiana, this help was crucial to surviving the pandemic.

“We were unable to have our volunteers here, the heart of our home, they help us keep everything afloat, by preparing meals for us,” says Kierstin Miller, President and CEO of RMHC Michiana. “So, the staff had to take over, and when we were doing that, we realized we were shorthanded in all aspects. And Cultivate provided chef prepared meals for us on a daily basis for a while, and we are so grateful to them to do that, it was on just one less thing for us to worry about with such a small staff being without our 200 or some volunteers that we normally are relying on a daily basis.”

The partnership proved to be so successful that even with volunteers once again at the RMHC of Michiana, Cultivate continues to bring meals 3 days a week! The nonprofit has rescued 1.8 million pounds of food and distributed nearly 300,000 meals. Now, they are hopeful to continue to lend a hand to these families at the RMHC.

“Every little bit helps, having a hot meal, having something available, something else that you do not have to do, getting a break from the major struggles you are going through,” says Jim Conklin, Executive Director of Cultivate Food Rescue. “It goes a long way, and we are just happy to be a small part of what they do at the Ronald McDonald House.”

And the RMHC of Michiana is also stepping up! They share the occasional, non-perishable food items that are too much to consume with Cultivate in order to redistribute to others in need. While the frozen meals first provided by Cultivate was to reduce the impact of volunteer shortages, they are now an asset for the families.

“Sometimes the families that come in here, they cannot sit here for a full meal, and they do not want to sit away from their child’s bed side for that long, and so we were able to give them these meals to go if you will,” says Miller. “And they were able to take them with them and microwave them over on the hospital side, so that they can enjoy their meal at their child’s bedside versus over here which is sometimes uncomfortable especially when there is only one parent there at the child’s bed side.”

Both nonprofits have exciting things coming up! Cultivate Food Rescue has their event Taste of Hope on September 16th and RMHC of Michiana has an event at Four Winds Field on September 24th. Further information can be found on their websites.

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