Hinkle Creek Elementary Student Raises Money to Help Eliminate Hunger Among Noblesville Kids

Writer / Matt Keating
Photography Provided

Sam Abbott, a fourth-grader at Hinkle Creek Elementary School in Noblesville, recently raised a large sum of money for the Fueled for School program.

Sam’s mother, Sarah, says Fueled for School helps feed Noblesville school children facing food insecurity over the weekends and during school breaks.

“Sam volunteers by helping pack the meal packs at the Fueled for School warehouse, as well as shopping for the nonperishable food items,” Sarah says. “He recently raised $11,310 this year at his lemonade stand.”

Sam’s lemonade stand is also a very popular summer event.  Sam Abbott

“It takes a lot of planning and shopping,” Sarah says. “It also takes a lot of hauling tables and chairs to make sure everything is just right.”

Sarah adds that there are a lot of people who may not know exactly how the event started.

“It actually wasn’t an event, but a conversation we had with Sam before his sixth birthday,” Sarah says. “I said to him, ‘What do you think about asking your friends to donate $5 to a charity of your choice instead of bringing a present to your birthday party?’ I wasn’t sure how that would go over to a soon-to-be 6-year-old. To my surprise, he was all in.”

Sarah and her family learned about Fueled for School from Kristina Trusty, who was Sam’s kindergarten teacher at the time.

“Trusty founded the organization in 2017, when she discovered there was such a need with food insecurity right here in Noblesville,” Sarah says. “Sam, of course, said he would donate his birthday money to Fueled for School. At the time, he raised $200. That fall, in 2020, in the middle of COVID, we decided to add a lemonade stand to our usual bacon party over Labor Day weekend during the local men’s golf tournament.”

Sarah says Sam, his dad, Mike Abbott, and friend, Chris Hoffman, built the lemonade stand that people visit now.

“Sam raised just over $1,000,” Sarah says. “We did it again the next year and raised over $2,000. It wasn’t until last year that people really knew what Sam’s mission was. We were hesitant about asking people to donate, but as the word spread, he started receiving donations from all over the country.”

Sarah says last year, just over $8,000 was raised.Sam Abbott

The meal packs for kids from the Fueled for School program contain nonperishable items such as cereal, oatmeal, fruit cups, canned soups and popcorn.

“The kids also have access to refrigerated items such as milk and eggs at different times of the year at the Fueled for School warehouse,” Sarah says.

This year, there are over 350 Noblesville school children in need every week.

“Sam and I volunteered to help pack the meal packs,” Sarah says. “On our way home he said to me, ‘Mom, I’m really understanding what this means. Every bag we packed helps one kid.’ There were close to 700 bags so it was eye opening. As parents we’re trying to raise good humans – be kind to others, use your manners, do your chores – but to have compassion comes from the heart, and I’m so proud of Sam.”

Sarah adds that all of the kids who work at the lemonade stand, and people who spend money at the stand, are there for what they believe in.

“The fact that all these kids want to help and make a difference just warms my soul,” Sarah says. “I want to thank everyone. We, as friends, as family, as co-workers, as a community, are helping make a difference and that’s amazing. I can’t wait to start planning next year.”

Sarah says Sam also stays busy with other activities.Sam Abbott

“Sam plays baseball through Noblesville Youth Baseball, basketball at the Boys & Girls Club, and golf and tennis,” Sarah says. “He has also entered art contests and science fairs at school. Sam has a very kind heart. He’s a great friend and leader. My husband, Mike, and I couldn’t be more proud of the person he is growing into.”

For more information on Fueled for School, visit fueledforschool.org.

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