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East-side church increases food pantry hours until virus threat lessens

Church pantry opens once a week

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For a decade New Direction Church has served people on the east side of Indianapolis with their food pantry.

Once a month, they would open the doors of the pantry for whoever was in need. However, with the rising of the coronavirus pandemic, the most vulnerable people in their community needed more.

They decided to open up the pantry every Saturday until the threat of COVID-19 is no more. They’ve stocked their pantry and an overflow room with food, water, personal supplies for all ages and more.

In order to deliver this service on a weekly basis, they need two things: volunteers and donations.

“It’s really important that we get enough people out to be able to supply the demand,” volunteer Jennifer Bennett said. “As much help as we can get, we welcome it.”

For Bennett, coming to her neighbors’ needs during this critical time is a family tradition. Her sister sparked the idea for New Direction to start the food pantry in the first place at their church on the east side, which is already considered a food desert.

“We don’t have a lot of grocery stores in this area and we have a lot of people who may not have vehicles or transportation, so we want to make sure that during this time people who been hit the hardest and have the greatest needs met,” Pastor Kenneth Sullivan said.

Sullivan says even though he hasn’t seen a crisis like this before, it’s times like these where the church turns faith into action.

“That’s why I believe the church exists: to fill in the gaps and make a difference,” Sullivan said.

The goal is not only to give their community comfort while the pandemic continues to hold its grip on lives all over the country, but also to spread a message that eventually the threat will end.

“This too shall pass,” Sullivan said.

In the mean time, if you are in need or know someone who is, they plan to keep the doors of their church open every weekend.

“We’d love to serve you,” Bennett said.

The New Direction Church food pantry volunteers will be practicing social distancing, because of the coronavirus, by serving people drive-thru style. If you come to the church and tell them what you need, they will put the boxed items in your vehicle. You can donate to the pantry or call 317-544-8622 if you’d like to volunteer.

  • Location: 5330 E. 38th St.
  • Time: 8-11 a.m. every Saturday starting March 21, until further notice
  • Pantry items available on first come, first serve basis