INDIANAPOLIS — DeAndrea Rayner has been serving Indianapolis with her community pantries; a free, no questions asked, take what you need food pantry.
The pantries can be found in just about every part of the Circle City, including four full-size refrigerators that sit outside businesses on the west, south and two on the east side. That is, until one of them was stolen from outside of a church near 42nd Street and Emerson Avenue.
"We put the refrigerator out there and posted the location and the fridge was stolen. The pastor called me and was like, "Hey, did you come pick up the fridge?" And I was like, "No,"" Rayner said.
The brightly colored appliances stick out and don't look like anything you'd find in a store.
"This one was painted as well, pink and brown. I'm like, maybe it'll match who ever stole its kitchen decor," Rayner said.
While Rayner is taking the loss in stride, she is frustrated. She said the pantries are being heavily used. She knows because they need to be restocked every day. The groceries inside come from community organizations and volunteers who drop off food after shopping for their own families.
"I never thought anybody would steal the fridge. Like, it was a thought, but I was like no, it's for a good cause, people need it, the homeless need it, people who are not homeless but are hungry need it, so nobody would actually steal the fridge when it's doing so good. But they did, which was crazy. Now nobody in that neighborhood can utilize it," Rayner said.
The church where the stolen fridge used to be has already stepped up to replace it. But before it goes back on the street, Rayner is looking for someone to help bolt it down and secure the four refrigerators across Indy so the people who need them can keep using them.
"Is this gonna happen again? Or should I stop doing the refrigerators until I can find someone to bolt them down? Like, who did it? Who would actually do this and how?" Rayner said.
To learn more about Indy Community Pantries you can visit their website here: https://www.indycommunitypantry.com/
You can also contact Rayner at Indycommunitypantry@gmail.com.