Franciscan Health is partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana to provide kid-friendly meal kits that encourage family time around the dinner table.

The Fellowship and Meals (FAM) Kits are distributed monthly to members of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Hammond and Gary. The FAM Kits include kid-friendly meals young people can easily make themselves as well as meals intended to be prepared and consumed as a family. The food for the meals is provided through Franciscan Health’s partnership with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.

Each kit also includes a family activity, such as playing cards for a family game night.

According to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, nearly 100,000 Northwest Indiana residents are food insecure — roughly one in six – including 20% of Lake County children. Food insecurity is of particular concern in the summer months and on weekends when school or summer day camp meal programs are not available.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs to promote positive family time while expanding our efforts to assist our neighbors experiencing food insecurity,” Franciscan Health Community Health Improvement Director Danielle Crowder said. “The FAM Kits are an expression of our healthcare ministry’s Franciscan values of compassionate concern and Christian stewardship in action. We are thankful for the partnerships that makes them possible.”

The FAM Kits are supported by a $25,000 No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength grant award and a $200,657 Indiana Department of Health Health Issues and Challenges grant award, as well as donations to the Franciscan Health Foundation’s Food Insecurity Fund.

“We are deeply humbled and grateful for the generous donation from Franciscan Health,” said Mike Jessen, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana. “This act of kindness, one that may not always make the headlines, plays an incredibly vital role in our shared mission, combating food insecurity in Northwest Indiana.

“Every bag of non-perishable foods, each one set to reach our most vulnerable Club sites, speaks volumes about Franciscan Health’s commitment to our cause, but it’s more than food. It’s hope. It’s a message to our youth that they are not alone, that their community cares for them deeply and is committed to ensuring that their basic needs are met.”

The kits, packed by Franciscan Health employee volunteers and their families, are currently distributed to roughly 150 families at each location during the summer months. The pilot program will continue through the summer at the Gary location and throughout the 2023-24 school year in Hammond.

Anyone interested in supporting the FAM Kits and other food insecurity programs in the Region may do so on the Franciscan Health Foundation’s website at this link by selecting the Northern Indiana Food Insecurity Fund.