Hunger, Inc. invites the surrounding community to a free awareness event held in the Hunger, Inc. Food Pantry parking lot, 1416 E. Epler Ave., Indianapolis, on Friday, Oct. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. in celebration of its 40th anniversary. All are welcome to help celebrate this outstanding milestone as Southport Mayor, Jim Cooney, presents a proclamation and awards the ‘Good Neighbor Award’ to loyal neighbors Kim’s Kakery, Bakery & Café, and CWA Local 4900 Union Hall.
The event will begin at 4 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the pantry to tours. It will feature Greenwood food truck vendor, Smokehouse Catering, and delicious cupcakes from Kim’s Kakery. Enjoy a tour of the food pantry while the kids indulge in fun fall activities such as face painting, balloon animals, Murat Shrine clowns, and an inflatable bounce house. The Union Hall (immediately West of the pantry), will provide free parking for the event.
40th Anniversary Team Coordinator, Jo Ann Bush, explained, “The 40th anniversary celebration is a culmination of recognizing the community, businesses, organizations, churches and schools for their continued support as well as thanking the many volunteers that serve our neighbors in need of nourishment. This is a kick-off event for our Fall Food Drive and informing new residents and businesses about the food pantry.”
Exciting updates to the pantry include the new client-choice-based model and meat/protein initiative. The new model allows clients to hand-pick their desired items straight from the shelves giving clients a chance to select from a variety of options. Former Hunger, Inc. President serving 5.5 years, Tom Brown, noted, “The accepted benefits of the client-choice model include an increase in respect, dignity and empowerment for our clients as well as an enhancement of volunteer fulfillment; also, we have recognized a reduction in wastage for the pantry.”
The client-choice model has created a new level of freedom for both clients and volunteers. Board Member, Susan Daube, added, “the new client choice system allows volunteers to encourage clients to try new foods and offer suggestions for meals and food preparation options while still empowering them to make their own selections. We also ensure volunteers are trained in pantry regulations and systems to ensure appropriate food distribution.”
Efforts toward the new meat/protein initiative have created an emphasis on providing clients and their families with a healthy and balanced diet. Diana Messmer, Pantry Manager, has noticed that “since COVID-19 and the influx of a variety of families from various countries and cultures, the standard American diet had taken on a new look at Hunger, Inc.” The pantry is proud to be able to provide “a small treat bag for all of the clients for something special when they visit [the] pantry,” however, there are food items that are in constant need within the pantry. Messmer stated, “Families seek proteins and fresh or canned vegetables. Rice, beans, and peanut butter are typically items chosen along with eggs and cheese to have a high protein and healthy diet for their families.”
As the Perry and Franklin, and Beech Grove Townships increase in size, so does the hard work at Hunger, Inc. Board members “are entrusted with adapting pantry operations to meet external and internal demands such as economic (food supply), health (pandemic) and social issues.”
Messmer has realized throughout the years that “the makeup of those seeking assistance in [the] pantry has steadily increased to feed families due to the economy, an increase in the homeless population, and immigrants moving into the community.”
The food pantry refuses to turn away its clients; instead, Hunger, Inc. ensures that clients in need of assistance receive just that — even if English is not their first language. No matter the language barrier, Messmer added, “We attempt to communicate with all of the clients using Google Translate which appears to help with most of the clients who come to Hunger, Inc.”
For more information, visit hunger.org or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All monetary donations may be sent to Hunger, Inc., P.O. Box 47573, Indianapolis, IN 46227.