FRANKLIN — Food pantries across Central Indiana are working to meet the needs of families during these uncertain times.
Places like Interchurch Food Pantry in Johnson County are adjusting to a new drivethru procedure to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Just off Commerce Drive in Franklin, a Center Grove High School exchange student from Kazakstan named Al helped people load the meals into their cars they need to feed their families this week.
"I just don't want to waste my time at all. I want to help people," he said.
And the need is great with many people worried when they will receive their next paycheck during the coronavirus outbreak.
Volunteers at the Interchurch Food Pantry serve pre-packaged boxes to families in need.
Carol Phipps is the pantry manager, and she showed us their new system where volunteers prepare meals to be handed off.
"The families that come still get a choice of meats. The volunteers box the standard items. So bigger families get more items," Phipps said.
They served more than 90 families Monday during their first drivethru.
"So we do need more volunteers in order to keep this going," Phipps said.
Many of their regular volunteers are older or have underlying conditions, so Phipps hopes more people like Al can lend a helping hand.
"This is a call-out for people that, healthy people, that are able to come. It can be teens, high schoolers, middle schoolers with a parent," Phipps said. "It's a great time for people to give back."
For those in need of meals, there is no proof required, and they also welcome the needy from outside Johnson County.
"We've really had just an outpouring from the people driving through. They are immensely appreciative. One woman said she was just laid off from the restaurant she worked out and she didn't know how she was going to get by, and so she was in line," Phipps said.
And for volunteers like Al, sitting around at home increases fear, so he is doing his part to help a community that, for now, he calls home.
"It helps to socialize with people," he said. "It helps to feel that you are part of something bigger than you are."
Monetary donations to Interchurch Food Pantry can be mailed to PO Box 147 Whiteland or in-person during business hours. Click here for more information.