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Gleaners, DPS partner to fight hunger

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Department of Public Safety said it can lower crimes rates if people are properly fed.

DPS partnered with Gleaners Food Bank to bring mobile food pantries to the city’s highest crime areas.

They’re not just using volunteers for distribution, but police, and firefighters and EMS were also helping.

“The community cares and together we’re going to stand side by side to make sure that people are fed,” said Cindy Hubert, the President and CEO of Gleaners.

It is the first time Gleaners and DPS have partnered to feed people.

“Many of the people are feeling hopeless and so they may do things that they shouldn’t do because they’re hungry,” said Hubert.

“When you’re hungry its an uncomfortable and difficult position to be in, and it leads to making bad decisions,” said Valerie Washington, the Deputy Director of DPS.

The mobile food pantries will visit the six areas of the city that DPS said have the highest crime rates.

“We’re actually going to take a truck loaded with fresh fruit, nutritional food into one of the focus areas,” said Hubert.

But they’re doing more than just handing out food.

“A chance to really get out and interact at a grassroots level and have a conversation with the community and to really be seen doing something positive,” said Washington.

At a swearing in ceremony for IMPD recruits last week, Police Chief Rick Hite said officers will be in the neighborhoods more. He said with reducing hunger and having officers looked at as members of the community, they can tackle crime.

“That relationship with the community and the officers are really going to help us, when the neighborhood may need to reach out to public safety for something greater,” said Washington.

Citizens that attend a distribution site don’t need an ID, and the events are open to the public. They are asking that people bring their own bags or boxes.