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Brookside food pantry to help even more people after being awarded Gleaners grant

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Brookside food pantry
Brookside food pantry
Brookside food pantry
kk7.pngBrookside food pantry
Brookside food pantry
Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-28 19:01:00-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Brookeside Park neighborhood will soon have a food pantry with more access to everyone.

The Brookside Church Food Co-op has been open for a while, but could never serve all who needed food.

A new partnership with Gleaners Food Bank is allowing them to have access to more food so they can help more people.

Brookside food pantry

Gleaners numbers show one in nine central Indiana residents face food insecurity in the 21 county area they serve.

It's a need that Gleaners says has grown 5% over the past year.

The addition to the Brookside food pantry is one that neighbors say comes at a much needed time.

Patricia McGlaugin says without the pantry, things would be difficult and she wouldn't have food at the end of the month.

"I am just so grateful," McGlaugin said.

Brookside food pantry

Annette McCallister knows what hunger pains feel like. She was homeless for seven years, and didn't always know where her next meal would come from.

"It's a physical, physical ache. A deep rumble inside that you know you have to drink some water and try to get that hunger to subside for a little bit," McCallister said.

McCallister is now the director for the Brookside food pantry, serving those who are in the same place she was two years ago.

"If you're just living pay check to paycheck, even if it's a good paycheck, you're still one step away. People don't realize that," McCallister said.

The Brookside pantry offers two types of help to people who need them.

kk7.pngBrookside food pantry

Clients can become a member by volunteering at the church for two hours. Then they are given special privileges, like cooking classes and a more personal shopping experience.

Now, with new assistance from Gleaners, they can open the pantry to any community member who needs it.

"Gleaners is going to allow me to look at what I need. Go through their list, order it , and go get it. It's not like I have to count on donations that I don't know what I am going to get. I can specifically pick out things that I need and go shop for them and that's fantastic," McCallister said.

Brookside food pantry

Gleaners was recently awarded a grant that will allow them to provide food to many pantries across central Indiana, like the Brookside food pantry.

"I think this is just going to feed a whole lot more people that I wasn't able to feed before," McCallister said.

Gleaners says in their 2021-2022 fiscal year, they distributed 96.8 million meals.

Year to date through August 2023, they have distributed 90.8 million meals. Gleaners says they will exceed 2022 by about 5% based on projections.

They currently distribute about 10 million meals a month.

Brookside food pantry

For comparison, Gleaners says the first 12 months of the pandemic, they distributed 100 million meals.

Gleaners says, "We will do that again this year. Things are going in the wrong direction."

The 2020-2021 year had a lot of government support. TEFAP (the government commodities program) has gone down drastically, from nearly 20 million lbs. in 2020 to less than 5 million pounds this year. Food banks (not just Gleaners) are being tasked with feeding the same amount of people but with minimal government support. Neighbors we serve have also had supports taken away, through the elimination of the Advance Child Tax Credit to a reduction in SNAP benefits.
Gleaners Food Bank

Food Pantries