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City of Indianapolis, Pacers to launch 'Drive and Dish' program for food-insecure communities

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Posted at 10:37 PM, Nov 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-15 22:37:36-05

INDIANAPOLIS — According to the City of Indianapolis, 25% of Marion County residents suffer from Food Insecurity. Now, the city is partnering with the Pacers to help people in two Indianapolis neighborhoods.

The Drive and Dish Initiative will provide food boxes to 1,000 families for an entire year in two underserved neighborhoods.

One of the locations where the boxes will be distributed is Christamore House. For Latoya Pitts, having this program in the community she serves is full circle moment.

Pitts used to visit the community organization as a kid. She says the needs of the community has changed since then.

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"On thing that we notice is it doesn't matter if they receive food stamps or WIC, there is still a shortage. There is still a problem getting access," Pitts said.

Starting Jan. 15, 1,000 families in the Haughville and Martindale-Brightwood communities will be able to take part in the Drive and Dish Initiative.

The program will deliver a box of fresh foods to families once a week. It will include cooking utensils and a cookbook with recipes designed around the items provided.

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"Many times, we have heard that families want to eat healthy and they know what they need to do to eat healthy,” Milele Kennedy, Director of the Division of Community Nutrition and Food Policy for the City of Indianapolis, said. "But they just don't have the budget to be able to buy the produce that they want every week, and this gives them that opportunity."

This program wouldn't have been possible without the head coach of the Pacers, Rick Carlisle. He says he wanted to make a difference in the community, and when he heard that one out of every four Marion County residents deals with some sort of food insecurity, he knew he had to take action.


"The numbers were strong and they told a pretty vivid story,” Carlisle said. "To me, this is a moral issue. Human beings should not allow other human beings to be hungry, so I am proud to be apart of this. "

Currently, the Pacers and other donors have committed $530,000 to the program — A program they hope will grow in the future.

"It's a building program but we are going to start with who needs it most,” Pitts said.

At each site during distribution, there is going to be an opportunity for families to see cooking demonstrations for the recipes in the cook book they'll receive.

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If you live in the Martindale-Brightwood or Haughville neighborhoods, you can register online by clicking here.

Distribution will take place at Christamore House and the Edna Martin Christian Center.