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Gleaners Food Bank, Indy public safety agencies extend mobile pantry dates

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gleaners Food Bank and Indianapolis public safety agencies are extending the dates for their mobile food pantries around the city.

“The mobile pantries were a stop-gap in one sense where we can’t have a brick and mortar presence or where we want to increase the number of meals in a particular neighborhood,” Gleaners president and CEO John Elliott said.

The pantries are in six high crime neighborhoods and were scheduled to end at the end of August, but the dates at some of the locations will be extended through December.

“We realized this was not something that was just needed in the summer, that we had to spread it out. People are hungry all year,” Elliott said.

In June, July and August, the CARE Mobile Food Pantry Program served nearly 45,000 people, and nearly 19,000 of them were under the age of 18.

“I think the number of people who came to the mobile pantry distributions really affirmed what we already knew, that these are high need neighborhoods anyway,” Elliott said.

“I’m a daycare teacher, I have a job, but it’s not enough when a car note, car insurance, rent, you got lights and gas and water, you have household needs, your children’s feet grow every 30 days,” said mobile food pantry user Falicia Spells.

Many of the volunteers are firefighters, police officers and paramedics.

“It helps to open up the door as far as to start conversations, you know, like OK, maybe a person grew up thinking that they could never talk to a police officer or that a police officer doesn’t like them for whatever reason, so having the police officers stand out in the community and say, ‘Hey! My name is John or Pete and I’m here for you and we’re all not bad guys or what the media may portray us as bad people,’” Spells said.

“There’s a direct connection between crime in a neighborhood, educational attainment, hunger, housing, employment — a lot of that data and a lot of those things that are a challenge to family, they don’t face hunger alone,” Elliott said.

While Gleaners is happy to extend the dates of the program, they can always use donations. To donate, click here.

The mobile food pantries will continue at the following locations and dates:

  • Mt. Zion Apostolic Church, 4900 E. 38th Street on Oct. 10 from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Kroger Parking Lot (Across from IMPD Southwest District HQ), 2630 W. Michigan Street on Oct. 18 from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Eastside Community Baptist Church, 438 Wallace Avenue Oct. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Christ Our King Church, 2701 North California Street, 2nd Thursdays through Dec. 8th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Trinity Episcopal Church, 3242 North Meridian Street on October 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Fervent Prayer Church, 10512 East 38th Street, 3rd Saturdays through Dec. 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.