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Food pantry provides grocery experience, sense of pride

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A unique experience will now be available to people in need. Crooked Creek Food Pantry on North Michigan officially opened their doors to the public Friday morning.

Shopping carts sit at the front entrance and the aisles are structured just like a grocery store, but built inside the Eskenazi Health Center.

Community members will now have access to nonperishable goods, fresh produce and meats. The majority of items have been donated by local farmers or Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, along with Eskenazi Health and Dow AgroSciences, all worked together to develop this innovative pantry.

A full-time nutritionist will be onsite to help the community learn about how food and nutrition play a vital role in their health. Other important lessons being taught by the nutritionist include prevention, early intervention and effective chronic disease management – all of which are crucial to staying healthy.

Eating well is a key element to staying healthy, said Dr. Dawn Hut, chief physician executive at Eskenazi Health Center Pecar.

Volunteers say they have helped around fifty people each week since the soft open was held in February. Those helping stock the shelves believe that number will double within the next three months.

Sasha Bohanna said, “tonight my family will have a warm healthy cooked meal. That is a rare treat. Sometimes I would have to feed my 14-month-old a frozen dinner because it’s the cheapest thing I can buy.”

Everyone living in the North Michigan community who provides a valid address is allowed to shop at least one time. If additional assistance is needed, volunteers will collect more information.

“We hope this provides dignity and allows families to choose what they want for dinner. The way this is set up is better than just handing someone a bag of groceries,” said Nathan Montgomery, Crooked Creek Food Pantry’s CEO.

Crooked Creek Food Pantry is currently open from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays.