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By Tom Spalding, Communications Volunteer

At Boulevard Place Food Pantry, we’re counting on our “Breakfast in a Box” initiative to help us “Do a 180” on summertime kid hunger.

Kids get hungry in the morning during June, July, and August just as much as they do during the school year, and we believe cereal is the solution! We’re asking the community to support us with this special food drive.

“When you say you are ‘doing a 180’, it means you’re doing the opposite of what you originally intended,” says Joy Fay, Boulevard Place pantry board member representing Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. “We’re applying that concept to kid hunger with this campaign. As a longtime nurse, I know firsthand the positive impacts of starting the day with a healthy meal.”

Fay also notes that although the academic calendar varies, 180 days is the common minimum number of school days in the U.S., making it symbolic for our cause.

Many schools offer free or low-cost meals during the summer, but hunger in the morning can be a challenge. Cereal, though not inexpensive, is a convenient option. We encourage any parish or group to donate at least 180 boxes of cereal—or 180 pounds if you’re ambitious. You can drop off donations at 4202 N Boulevard on Tuesday mornings.

We got the idea from St. Simon the Apostle Church, where the middle school students conduct a cereal drive as part of their service projects, focusing on feeding the hungry. This year, they collected 432 boxes, with 200 pounds going to Boulevard Place.

IHM was already focused on picnic items but added cereal to their summer food drive, kicking off June 1 and ending July 21.

“Father Pat requested something symbolic of the Eucharistic Revival, July 17-24 in Indianapolis, so we chose cereal to represent ‘daily bread,’” says Trinda Metzger, former pantry board member and IHM Food Outreach Coordinator for SVDP Boulevard Place Food Pantry. “It symbolizes the bread in the Eucharist—‘give us this day our daily bread.’”

IHM runs four food drives annually for the pantry. Their focus was on picnic items but added cereal to the flyer as another recommended donation.

The pantry will also focus on ordering cereals in bulk. Having a variety of cereals allows people to choose their favorites. Both name-brand and generic cereals are welcome, with a minimum box size of 10 ounces.

We will accept any type of cereal, prioritizing healthier options. For guidance, refer to 16 Healthiest Cereals That Taste Great on Ideally, the carbohydrate-to-sugar ratio should be no more than 4:1. This means if total carbohydrates are 24 grams, then sugars should be 6 grams or less. This ratio indicates that most carbs come from grains and fiber, not added sugars. Conversely, cereals with 28 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of sugars would be classified as “junk food.”

Whole grains support proper metabolism, provide long-lasting satiety, and supply essential minerals.