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Indy nonprofit transforms bus into mobile food pantry to feed Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — ProAct Indy is expanding its work to deliver food around Indianapolis with a newly remodeled mobile food pantry.

In the last year, the nonprofit has done a lot of food distribution work. But with 1 out of every 7 Hoosiers going hungry, the bus will let ProAct do even more to help.

ProAct Indy is a nonprofit that typically does a lot of work with the youth and used the bus to pick up kids for activities.

Now the bus has found new life as a way to serve people who struggle with hunger in Marion County.

Founder Derrin Slack says the organization’s work has shifted slightly in the last year, thanks to food pantry partnerships and community members who give a little extra.

The organization didn’t have the mobile pantry a year ago. But even without it, they distributed 40,000 meals in the last year.

“It is a resource to the community that was ignited and launched from the throws of the pandemic,” said Slack. “And so we responded by having this resource available to food pantries and churches and neighbors who bought excess food or had excess food that they could give away but they couldn’t get it to people in need.”

The pandemic put the breaks on a lot of things, but not food insecurity. So instead of selling the bus, the nonprofit took out nearly all 28 seats, and over a five-month period, the bus was transformed.

“The value of this resource is that it works on both ends. Food pantries may not have a resource like this to get rid of the food or neighbors can’t get to it because they don’t have transportation (or) they are immunocompromised,” Slack said.

Slack said with this space, they’ll be able to distribute anywhere between 100 and 300 meals to families all around Marion County.

“It’s all about standing in the gap for vulnerable populations,” according to Slack.