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Indy woman asks for your help as she combats community's hunger with food pantry system

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Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-27 11:58:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A couple cartons of milk.

That was all that was left on the shelves of a community refrigerator on Indy’s far east side Saturday morning.

“We stock the refrigerators Monday and Thursday. It will be stocked full and the refrigerator will be empty in less than an hour," DeAndrea Rayner said.

One in nine Hoosiers are currently facing hunger. Rayner works every day to lower that number.

Rayner launched Indy Community Pantry, a no-contact and take-what-you-need free food pantry system, in 2020.

“Food should not be something that anybody should go without. You even see people that have money or jobs that utilize the fridge because the cost of food has gone up so much," Rayner said.

She says the pandemic opened her eyes to how grave the situation was in her neighborhood.

“Nobody really knew about it. There were a lot of people that weren't feeding the homeless because they didn’t know," Rayner said.

Right now, she has eight dry food pantries and three fridge locations across the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

Rayner says she currently relies on donations to get by.

“When I fill the fridges, it’s a line. (When I) see those people's faces when they're receiving food and know that they don't have to ask where their next meal is coming from, or their kids don't have to ask where their next meal is coming from. They know they can use one of my refrigerators," Rayner said.

Items can range from a carton of eggs to a pack of steaks.

It costs Rayner $400 every time she restocks, and the costs are starting to add up.

“We need help keeping the refrigerators stocked," Rayner said.

Indy Community Pantry takes monetary and food donations.

For more information, visit their Facebook or Instagram page.