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Pack the Cruiser huge success

A joint “Pack the Cruiser” event sponsored by the Carmel Youth Assistance Program (CYAP) in partnership with the Carmel Police Department raised more than 4,420 pounds of food and $2,974 in cash and grocery gift cards at two Kroger locations on Saturday, June 2.

The food and proceeds will benefit the Carmel Summer Lunch Program. Other partners included Kroger, Carmel Clay Schools, Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, OLMC Merciful HELP Center, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank and the Rotary Club of Carmel.

“The response from the Carmel community while people were out shopping was wonderful. We are amazed by the amount of donations received through the event,” said Guenter Haines, president of CYAP. “In addition, the Carmel Police Department really outdid themselves while volunteering their time at the event. The interaction with the community and eagerness to assist with loading the vehicles all while stopping to take pictures with members from the community was invaluable.”

Members from CYAP organized volunteers, many staff from Carmel Clay Schools, at a food-sorting event at Carmel High School on the following Monday, June 4. Volunteers weighed, sorted and packed food items to be distributed to local youth via partnering organizations at the OLMC Merciful H.E.L.P. Center, Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, and St. Christopher's Episcopal Church.

“We were truly amazed that the quick and hardworking volunteers sorted and packed 4,420 lbs. of food in 70 minutes. Food insecurity for children here in Carmel is not something that we want to think about, but it is a fact of life. There are more than 1,000 children in Carmel Clay Schools that depend on free breakfast and lunch five days a week at school,” said Colleen Scheu, Intervention Advocate for the CYAP. “Many also receive weekend food assistance during the school year; however these children may be going hungry when they are out of school for the summer.”

The Carmel community is coming together to address this problem through the CYAP’s Carmel Summer Lunch Program. The program provides a sack of nutritious ingredients to make each child five healthy breakfasts and lunches each of the eleven weeks of summer break. As of today there are 205 Carmel children enrolled in the program.

If you would like to make a donation, grocery gift cards or checks (clearly labeled with 'Summer Meals Program' in the memo line) may be mailed to Carmel Youth Assistance Program at 515 East Main Street, Suite 127, Carmel, IN, 46032. Donations will be collected throughout the summer.

The Pack the Cruiser event started in Fishers in the summer of 2017 and it had such a big impact, the police departments throughout Hamilton County wanted to become involved. This year, 23,475 lbs. of food and $12,527 in donations were collected throughout communities in Hamilton County.

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