The Food Desert Fight Grows
An organization aiming to provide healthy meals for Indianapolis students living in food deserts has ambitious plans for 2016. The Patachou Foundation, which has served 18,000 locally-produced meals over the past two-and-a-half years, hopes to provide 16,000 meals this year alone. The organization is staffed almost entirely by volunteers and funded by profits from Patachou’s Public Greens restaurant. Executive Director Matthew Feltrop says, although resources are "really limited," the organization is hoping to grow into additional communities.
Patachou Inc. founder Martha Hoover began the Patachou Foundation three years ago to address the hunger issue in Indianapolis. It currently serves students in five schools on the near-east side of the city. The nonprofit also organizes field trips to the Public Greens restaurant and microfarm on the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple. Feltrop says those experiences can be eye-opening for students, saying when health is hands-on, making good choices becomes easier.
Feltrop says there is always a "huge need" for volunteers to deliver the meals and teach students about healthy choices. He says the organization is constantly looking for individuals and business groups to help form the volunteer "backbone" of the foundation.
The Patachou Foundation named Feltrop its first leader in April 2015. He previously worked as an immigration law paralegal at Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and head of the World Languages Department at Covenant Christian High School. He holds Bachelor of Art and Associates of Science degrees from IUPUI.
Hoover founded Patachou Inc. in 1989. The company operates several restaurants in the Indianapolis area, including Café Patachou, Petite Chou Bistro & Champagne Bar, Napolese Artisanal Pizzeria and Wine Bar and Public Greens.