Grant for food bank extends services

A central Indiana food bank will be able to continue offering expanded services to local families after receiving a $5,000 grant.

Gleaners Food Bank received $5,000 in the most recent Johnson County Community Foundation grant cycle. The money will go toward continuing recently expanded Gleaners’ services in the area, which include a school meal program called BackSacks, which provides food for kids in low-income families over weekends, and expanded services and hours at the Interchurch Food Pantry, which receives food from Gleaners.

Gleaners provides food to families who don’t have enough income to ensure they have a consistent supply of nutritious foods, said Robert Wilson, director of foundation relations for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.

Unemployment and underemployment continue to be an issue for many people, Wilson said.

“One of the challenges we have is that there’s been a tremendous increase in suburban poverty and food insecurity,” Wilson said.

“The food pantries in Johnson County are doing a tremendous job, but when we look at the number of food insecure people in the county, we realize that we do have a meal gap.”

Families are working two or three jobs but still are having trouble putting enough food on the table for everyone in the house, Wilson said.

Expanded hours at Interchurch help working low-income families get to the pantry outside of work hours, Wilson said.

Gleaners also hosts mobile pantry hours at several locations across the county, including monthly events and others a few times a year. Gleaners distributes food at Indian Creek schools, Center Grove CARE Pantry, Our Lady of Greenwood Catholic Church and others.

“It’s a cost-effective way to get food resources to a community within a two-hour period. We can distribute about six or seven thousand meals for up to two or three hundred households,” he added. “Any person who is in a food insecure situation has a place to go to get what they need. We don’t want anyone going hungry.”