Focus on Food: IU Methodist food hub expands to serve entire ZIP code

Focus on Food: IU Health using nutrition hub to fight food insecurity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Long a center for health in the heart of Indianapolis, IU Health Methodist is now a community hub for food, too.

The downtown Indianapolis hospital is expanding its food locker program. Called “The Nutrition Hub,” it launched November of 2023 with a goal of reducing food insecurity.

“We’re six months since opening, and it is opened with a bang,” explained Kristen Kelly, the executive director of quality and safety at IU Health. “We started with referring our patients from our clinics, our high-risk surgical patients. Now, we just recently expanded to our community just a few weeks ago.”

The program now includes anyone who is eligible and interested across the entire 46202 ZIP code. It starts with screening either in-person at the IU Health Academic Health Center at 16th Street and Capitol Avenue or with a call to 211. The expansion marks a milestone in a concept that started years ago.

“This was five years of planning with our partners the American Heart Association, Gleaners (Food Bank), Purdue, and the IU School of Medicine,” said Kelly. “And we came together and planned really talking to our patients and community to see what it would take.”

Kelly says the program is truly unique in its design, but it represents a growing trend across healthcare of innovating and supporting preventative care programs. In the case of the Nutrition Hub, that includes empowering people to choose the food they need, rather than being limited by the selections of others.

“You can click the foods that you love that are important to your family,” says Kelly. “You can select them, and Gleaners will pick them out and put them in the locker for you. They’re stored chilled or frozen. You can swing by in and out in under five minutes.”

This story is part of WISH-TV’s Focus on Food commitment to improve access to healthy food through resources, recipes, and more.