Noblesville Youth Assistance Program Vice President Tanya Wilhite knows how essential it is to raise money to feed youth during the summer. That need is even greater now.
The nonprofit is looking to raise at least $50,000 for the Meals for Millers campaign to provide assistance to more than 500 students in need through the extended summer during the coronavirus pandemic.
NYAP provided at-risk students with 10,800 summer lunches in 2019. With many individuals unemployed during the crisis, Wilhite said the need will likely increase substantially.
“We have decreased resources and increased need,” Wilhite said. “We’re hoping Noblesville will get together and feed the students that will need this the most.”
Wilhite said the nonprofit is reaching out to the community and businesses to address the need.
“We’re not able to do (fundraising events) we normally do,” Wilhite said. “For example, we do an event called Pack the Cruiser food drive to help with the summer lunch program where we would stand outside the Kroger and have a Noblesville Police (Dept.) cruiser out front. We ask donations from people coming into the store. Once the cruiser is packed, another would come out. We got a lot of supplies that we needed.”
With the pandemic, Wilhite said NYAP cannot hold events like that for the safety of all involved.
Approximately 25 percent of Noblesville Schools’ students receive free or reduced-priced breakfasts and lunches during the school year. With schools closed, they are able to pick up the meals for the week at the schools or have the meals delivered. Approximately 5,000 meals a week are supplied. The schools will provide meals through the end of May.
Wilhite said her nonprofit is asking school administrators and teachers to get involved on social media by tagging some of their posts with the hashtag, #Meals for Millers, to raise awareness.
NYAP is creating a video for its Facebook and Instagram pages.
Wilhite said with current health restrictions, food donations cannot be accepted at this time. Donations can be made by visiting youthassistance.org/make-a-donation/noblesville. Checks should be made payable to Noblesville Youth Assistance Program and mailed to 17225 Kraft Court, Noblesville, IN 46060.