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We Are Grateful

There aren’t always words to express just how fortunate the Hanover Community School Corporation is to have gracious and amazing hero partners to help fulfill the needs of our students.  We can, however, celebrate and tell the stories of the silent heroes who work behind the scenes to bring joy and warmth into the lives of our students.

In September 2017, the Crown Point First United Methodist Church brought the “Buddy Bags” program into a Crown Point Elementary School.  The program was designed to address food insecurity for students.  Before the end of that 2017-2018 school year the church had added a second Crown Point school and by the following spring they were providing Buddy Bags for more than 300 students in Crown Point schools.   

In April of 2020 a group of faithful supporters, led by Bonnie Meyer, formed the nonprofit “Community Help Network, Inc.” With the establishment of this organization the Buddy Bag program has grown to include two schools in the Hanover system, Jane Ball Elementary and Hanover Central Middle School.

woman with grocery bags

Bonnie Meyer, President of Community Help Network, Inc., stacks 'Buddy Bags' in the foyer of Jane Ball Elementary School.

“This is an ongoing and growing program,” said Ms. Meyer, President of Community Help Network, a 501-3C registered non-profit.  Buddy Bags are sent home on Fridays and each bag contains simple, single-serving meals and snacks to be used over the weekend. Studies have shown that students who are not well nourished over the weekend return to school on Monday unprepared to do their best.

Food items on a table

A sample of weekend Buddy Bag items for students. 

After more than a year of providing Buddy Bags to middle school students in Crown Point, Meyer and her group of volunteers realized that middle school is a particularly difficult time for students and sensitivity is key to providing support.  “Instead of distributing Buddy Bags to these students, we provide a $20 grocery gift card for each student’s family each month,” explained Ms. Meyer.  The school mails the gift card directly to the family head of the household. 

picture of a grocery gift card

Strack & Van Til gift cards are mailed to families at the Middle School.  

“We have been blessed with an abundance of volunteers, community support and grants from the Crown Point Community Foundation, the Legacy Foundation, Indiana United Methodist Foundation, Crown Point First United Methodist Church Foundation and others,” said Ms. Meyer. 

Guidance Counselors, Leslie Klauk (Jane Ball Elementary School) and Robin Dillon (Hanover Central Middle School) serve as Hanover liaisons for the Buddy Bags program at their respective schools.  “It really warms my heart that we have such amazing people in our community that want to give of their time and resources weekly.  This is a true commitment to our students, not just a one-time donation.  It really is great to see smiles and talk about how happy students are to get their Buddy Bags each Friday,” said Mrs. Klauk.  Mrs. Dillon is equally pleased to be able to provide the program for Middle School students.   “We are really excited to be able to offer this support and are looking forward to extending our partnership and including items like warm coats and personal care items in the future,” she said.

We are not sure how to say thank you, especially in this moment that is so very difficult for so many.  We are sure that our students and families are grateful and we, as a Corporation, continue to be overwhelmed by the support for our kids who mean the world to us and mean so much to the world’s future.