New Volunteer Software

We are live with our new volunteer software! This will make it easier to keep track of our volunteer hours and for you to sign-in upon arrival at Cultivate. Download the Volunteer Local App to ease the sign-in process and view your profile and shifts. We have shifts for food processing and kitchen volunteers! Find a time that works for you and come serve with Cultivate and help feed food-insecure children in our community.

Visit our Volunteer Page to sign up for a shift! If you haven’t already, you will need to fill out the volunteer application here as well. Once that simple process is complete, you will be free to sign-up to volunteer as often as you like! If you want to bring in more than 8 people, please contact shellya@cultivateculinary.com and we can work to accommodate you!

Volunteer of the Month

Carrie Walsh

Carrie Walsh started volunteering for the first time with Cultivate in February of 2020. She learned about Cultivate from some of her Junior League friends and was intrigued by their mission, so she signed up for a shift with her son. When COVID hit, like most of us, Carrie had few reasons to leave her house during the shutdown, but doing a shift at Cultivate was one of the rare exceptions. Volunteering at Cultivate is also a wonderful way to meet people from around the area who she otherwise may not have met.

When asked why she loves volunteering with Cultivate, Carrie said: “I felt, and still continue to feel, helpless about all of the hurt and need in our community right now, but volunteering at Cultivate gives me some hope that we are going to get through this.  It’s incredibly inspiring to see the partnership that Cultivate has formed with local businesses, restaurants, and schools, and universities in our area. But most inspiring has been meeting the other volunteers who walk through the door and are willing to give up a few hours of their week to help people they will never even meet. People of all ages from all around town see that need too and want to do their small part to bring hope to their neighbors. It makes me so proud and grateful to live in our amazing community.”

You can find Carrie at Cultivate multiple times every week, including many weekend shifts. She often brings her family to participate as well. Cultivate is immensely grateful for dedicated volunteers like Carrie who support our mission and keep our operations running smoothly!

Meat Hunger Merges With Cultivate

Meat Hunger has been a generous donor of over 15,500 pounds of protein to Cultivate. Meat Hunger is a program formed by two 4-H students in 2018, Emily and Noah Zimmer, with the mission to address food insecurity one protein serving at a time. Primarily serving as a 4-H Livestock Buyers Group for the past 3 years, Meat Hunger raises funds to purchase and donate animals from the fair to organizations like Cultivate who then use this protein in their meals which go to feed food-insecure children and families in our community.

As the founders, Emily and Noah, approach their final year of college, they have begun to transition out of the 4-H program and face the upcoming demands of college and post-college life. Throughout this transition, they have been searching for a group of individuals who have the ability to sustain Meat Hunger’s efforts into the future. Cultivate Food Rescue has been the primary recipient of Meat Hunger’s donations, and now they have begun to work with the Zimmer’s to merge Meat Hunger into their current operations. Bill Zimmer, father of Emily and Noah, has joined the Cultivate Board and will work with staff and volunteers to transition the Meat Hunger program and partner with local youth development and leadership programs to carry the program forward.

Cultivate and Meat Hunger will continue to reach out to current donors for funding and partner with Martin’s Custom Butchering and Hoosiers Feeding The Hungry to cover the processing of the livestock and the corresponding fees. For more information or to donate to Meat Hunger, please contact either:

Emergency Food Initiative

We are so thankful for our community and the incredible partners in it that collaborate to meet the needs of our neighbors. As the reality of the pandemic began to set in and the impact of the virus hit our community and our neighbors, leaders from local public, private and nonprofit organizations including Cultivate, formed an initiative to identify and meet the food needs in our community. Before the pandemic, 15% of people in our area were food insecure, and that number only began to increase exponentially as the pandemic raged on. Families who never thought they would be in line at a food pantry, found themselves in desperate need of food resources. Since March 2020, the Emergency Food Initiative has been meeting every Friday morning to collaborate, streamline communication among partners, and organize the distribution of over 100,000 meals weekly!

Check out this group’s page on Facebook (@EFIStJoeCounty) and this awesome video about our partnership below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIO6RdgqSjU