Mrs. Walters, Hoosier Hunger Hero
Food insecurity is a growing concern, not only across the Hoosier state, but right here in Avon. Thanks to compassionate Avon educators and administrators, this need is being addressed through the Mary Lee Maier Community Pantry. (Dr. Wyndham featured the pantry in the latest episode of Orioles In-The-Know.) Although many people are involved in the effort to ensure no child comes to school hungry, a few heroes stand out.
Avon Intermediate School West Principal Amber Walters has distinguished herself as one such hero, and her efforts have resulted in recognition from No Kid Hungry Indiana as one of three Indiana Principals who are Hoosier Hunger Heroes.
"Amber Walters would never give herself a shout out," said AIS West Assistant Principal Laura Lee, "so I'm doing it!" She went on to say, "Amber is committed to this work and is always going above and beyond, not only for the staff and students at West, but also for the pantry. It's her whole heart and although she won't want the recognition, she deserves it!"
I think the award could just be called the Amber Walters Award. Scott Wyndham, Ed.D., Superintendent
In recent years, the percentage of Avon students who qualify for free and reduced lunches has grown to approximately 40%, a massive increase.
"Food insecurity is a real concern for some of our families," noted Food Service Administrator Emily Cates. "Mrs. Walters is a fierce advocate for keeping her students minds and bodies fed. She helps to connect students and families to resources and tirelessly supports the programs available to families through volunteer work."
The Mary Lee Maier Community Pantry, to which Mrs. Walters dedicates much time and energy outside school hours, began as a collection of snacks in a concerned teacher's desk drawer and has grown into a large and active organization. Their mission is to ensure that none of Avon's 10,400 students come to school hungry. Pantry Coordinator Kristi Kerr said, "Truly no one is more deserving. I’m so happy for her and our families are so lucky to have her in their corner."
Mrs. Walters knows students learn best when their basic needs are met, and although she's a passionate and accomplished principal, she describes her hunger-relief efforts as "truly my heart work."
This fact is obvious to those who know and work with Mrs. Walters closest. "Amber has a heart to serve kids and families," said Superintendent Dr. Scott Wyndham. "She knows that kids can’t fully learn without their basic needs being met and she works tirelessly to help families get connected with resources. She’s so deserving of this honor. I think the award could just be called the Amber Walters Award."
Congratulations, Mrs. Walters, for this well-deserved recognition, and thank you for all you do for your students and their families. You are truly a Hoosier Hunger Hero.
- AIS West
- All Belong Learn Grow
- MLM Community Pantry