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Gleaners Food Bank launches virtual series highlighting food insecurity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Food insecurity in Indiana is an issue that’s getting special attention from the Gleaners Food Bank.

The organization recently launched a series of video that highlight the problem and during the pandemic, its services have continued to expand as the need for support grows.

So far, three episodes of “Feeding the Future: A Bite-Sized Series” have come out. The series will focus on things like how hunger impacts the body, its influence on society and much more. Gleaners representatives say the series will also help show the food insecurity comes in multiple forms.

In the latest edition, Gleaners CEO John Elliott sits down with CareSource Chief Medical Officer Dr. Camuel Wright to discuss hunger’s impact on health.

“We’re also starting to learn that the incident of chronic disease — particularly diabetes and things of that nature — increase after periods of hunger,” Wright said.

Elliott says an extra $40 billion is spent nationally on health care for illnesses brought on by food insecurity. More than $1 billion of that is spent in Indiana, further impacting Hoosiers already strapped for cash.

“I think the psychological ramifications are even more important, and hunger has an important impact on the brain,” Wright said during the second episode.

In Gleaners’ 40-year history, services have expanded to include a perishable food bank co-op. It now responds to national disasters for the Feeding America network.

The pandemic has highlighted some of the ways food insecurity can show up and the people it impacts.

Elliott says food insecurity is often a result of multiple issues coming together, be it job loss, health, transportation, or unexpected family changes.

“You have more and more grandparents and great grandparents who are unexpectedly raising grandchildren,” Elliott said.

The series will run throughout the year, ending in September to coincide with Hunger Action Month.