Who We Are

Community Help Network serves students in 23 schools by providing meals and snacks, while also running a household pantry program for low-income families in South Lake County that offers hygiene items and cleaning supplies

In September of 2017 the Missions’ Committee and the Crown Point First United Methodist Church took on the challenge of addressing food insecurity in area students. Students who qualify for the “free lunch” program were getting meals at school during the week but, the concern was whether or not these same students had enough to eat over the weekends and longer breaks.

The Committee used the model from Kokomo Urban Outreach called Buddy Bags. The program provided meals and snacks for the days students were not in school. They began with one Crown Point School that fall which turned into three schools before the end of the school year. The growth continued rapidly and by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, it was clear that Buddy Bags had outgrown the space and funding the church could provide.

In April of 2020 a group of dedicated volunteers formed the Community Help Network to encompass the Buddy Bag Program. In September of that same year, we were graciously offered space in the ARC building warehouse at 550 East Burrell Drive.

Here we have grown the Buddy Bag Program throughout South Lake County. The program now serves over 850 food insecure students in twenty-three schools in four school districts.

Community Help Network added a Household Pantry in January of 2021. This program provides cleaning supplies, paper products and hygiene items to low-income families in South Lake County. These are all things that cannot be purchased with “food stamps”. This program has grown significantly in the last year. In the first quarter of 2022 the pantry served and average of 36 families per month. The last quarter saw that number increase to 47 families. Now, just in the first month of 2023, we have served nearly 60 families.
4 Middle Schools
16 Elementary
2 Preschools
22 Total # of Schools
581 – preschool and elementary students
223 – middle school students