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Children's Village Indianapolis Named CACFP Inspire Collaboration Award Finalist

April 6, 2022

Children's Village staff standing in front of new minibus

When the pandemic struck, Children’s Village Indianapolis, in collaboration with The Villages of Indiana and Early Learning Indiana, demonstrated that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  In typical operations, Children’s Village provides 70 to 130 children per day with meals and snacks and also has a gardening program for the children. It has been in the CACFP for nearly 20 years.

Early Learning Indiana and Children’s Village offered “Cooking Matters” meal prep classes virtually. Families were provided with a series of online training courses in addition to food boxes shipped to their door for the classes themselves. The agencies worked together to gift prizes, including slow cookers, to families who attended seven of the eight classes. Innovative work like virtual cooking classes, meal box delivery and prizes to incentivize engagement kept this collaboration on the top of their community’s mind.

It didn’t end there. Children’s Village Indianapolis and The Villages worked together to procure and donate necessities. Food boxes containing shelf-stable foods, milk, fruits and vegetables were handed out for families. Diapers, wipes and masks were also given away. The Villages also pitched in to order a new mini-bus during the pandemic to help transport children between schools and their before and after school programs.

Lisa Means, CMP, CCNP, the CACFP contact at The Villages says this about the results of their effort: “Many of these families have lower incomes and benefit from the services, especially during the pandemic. This staff has worked hard, putting in many hours of overtime to keep things running. We are all grateful for the teamwork and collaboration.” The efforts of Children’s Village Indianapolis to unite with The Villages of Indiana and Early Learning Indiana to provide care have placed the organization as a finalist for the Inspire Collaboration Awards. Award winners were named during the 2022 National Child Nutrition Conference.