FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Doug Hargis knows the feeling of needing a meal as a student firsthand.
“I know how important these meals are. They’re not just meals. They’re literally the sustenance for that child for that day,” said Hargis.
Hargis oversees the Meals to You program that has delivered over 294,000 meals to students across Indiana since COVID-19 hit.
The program is an extension of a collaborative effort between Pepsi Co., the United States Department of Agriculture, and Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty.
“Hunger and lack of nutrition are more urgent now than ever,” said Hargis.
The program serves students from age 1 through age 18.
Since the coronavirus shut schools down, the need for food has become urgent especially for students who solely received meals at school.
"Originally, it [Meals to You] was to address gaps in nutrition during the summertime, but as we progressed we found there are gaps in nutrition year round.”
The Meals to You team partners with shipping companies to personally delivers the meals to students' homes who've already registered through the USDA to receive free meals.
“We have a few facilities across the U.S. where we package up the meals, seal the meals up...and deliver them straight to the child's home," said Hargis.
Hargis says the team will continue the effort through the summer because hunger continues to exist, “in places you wouldn’t even think.”