At 31.2% of the population, Delaware County is number one in the state of Indiana for children living in poverty. This sobering statistic prompted the launch of Inside Out Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit committed to assisting vulnerable, food-insecure children, their families, and local care-giving agencies. As a community, we have a wonderful opportunity to transform our community by empowering the most vulnerable people at the community’s core.

With the help and support of public, private, and individual donations, Inside Out is able to provide strategic services to build up these individuals. Our facility at 300 N. Madison Street, which contains a full-service commercial kitchen called the Community Empowerment Kitchen, the Inside Out Community Development Corporation, and Blood-N-Fire Ministries.

Inside Out has developed our premier program, Fresh Directions. Fresh Directions has served more than 130,000 hot meals and healthy snacks to hungry children in Delaware County. These meals and snacks are prepared in the Community Empowerment Kitchen and consist of quality proteins, fresh produce, and whole grains. Ingredients are purchased, donated, rescued, and grown by local growers, and meals are prepared and delivered by caring volunteers from the community.

With the vast number of struggling families living in poverty, many necessary factors for children’s development are overlooked. When children are involved with programs at Inside Out’s partner sites—such as Boys and Girls Club, Unity Center, The Buley Center, Back to School Teachers Store,  and Muncie P3—they are influenced in a positive way while receiving a hot meal and or a healthy snack.

Often, the children in these programs do not receive adequate or consistent meals at home, which impacts their behavior toward staff and peers. When children know they’re going to be fed, they are better able to listen to instructions and behave accordingly. When children are fed healthy food on a consistent basis, they can focus on their homework better and get involved in healthy activities. They respond in a positive way to positive influences that help them to do the right thing. This ripple effect is beneficial for the children, their families, and the community as a whole.