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Monroe County food pantry gets new, bigger space

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-28 13:11:01-04

For the last eight years Pantry 279 in Monroe County has been feeding thousands of Hoosiers and now after years of working out of donated space they are getting a new home.

Pantry 279 in Ellettsville was started nearly 10 years ago by a girl scout troop.

The girls noticed their classmate was saving food in her locker so she would have food for the weekend, and they wanted to help her and families like hers.

They created Pantry 279 for their Silver Project and today, Pantry 279 is serving people from 36 different counties.

“If you need food, you get food,” Cindy Chavez said.

Since 2015 Pantry 279 has been feeding anyone and everyone, no questions asked.

“We don't judge, and we don't ask these questions and when you come in as far as we're concerned you are family, you're friends, you're not a client that comes to the food pantry. We are here to help you you're helping us to learn about humanity learn about how to be a good person feel good at the end of the day,” Chavez said.

Cindy Chavez was the troop leader for troop 279 when the pantry started.

“The plan was that we were going to do it for six months. train a new troop and they do it for 6 months etc. etc.,” Chavez said.

But the pantry grew too quickly for a troop to run it.

She said in their first week the pantry served 25 people, in the first month about 600, doubling in month two to 12 hundred. Now they serve nearly 10 thousand people every month.

“There is no food we do not need as long as it's unopened we can have it so we have perishable things we have produce you got extra tomatoes in your garden we are more than happy to take them,” Chavez said.

Since 2015 they’ve been operating out of the back of Trinity Lutheran Church and on September 5th, they’ll be serving the community in their new location, with more space, more color and central air.

“I'm going to cry a lot. I've already been crying at home. I remembered all those firsts. The first time that the girls were there, our first person, the first tragedy we had, the first happiness,” Chavez said.

Nearly a decade later, the work of Troop 279 continues to make a difference in Monroe County and beyond.

“I hope now that they're in college and living families of their own that that is stuck with them all these years how important what they started did and what they worked so hard for,” Chavez said.

To learn more about the pantry whether it be getting assistance or donating visit their website,