INDIANAPOLIS — Hunger and food insecurity is a need that has only grown during the pandemic, but DeAndrea Rayner's community effort is dedicated to working together to curb hunger pains in areas where food is needed most.
“Since Covid started I thought this would be a good idea for less contact with people who need food,” Rayner said.
One in seven Hoosiers currently face food insecurity and Rayner is working to give unused newspaper stands a new purpose while also fighting the hunger issue in her community.
“I have seen the empty newspaper stands around town and I was like that would be a great idea, so I reached out to people and they donated to them. I have local artists that paint them. And I just leave them in food deserts,” Rayner said.
And that's how Indy Community Pantry got its start.
“The first was in August and now I have a total of six of them,” Rayner said. She's even put out a community fridge, but she explains she must follow requirements from the health department to operate it.
Rayner says the other boxes are low maintenance and they make a major difference.
“It just blew up so now when I come fill them up there will be people sleeping next to it because they know someone is going to come and refill it and they want to be the first one there,” added Rayner.
She says the pandemic made her realize just how great the need was.
“There are so many homeless people not even necessarily homeless but someone who can't afford to get food they know they can come to empty pantry and grab food like that I love that people are reaching out to me and wanting to help,” said Rayner. "I just wanted to do something good and I never thought it would get to where it is now,"
The pantry isn't just having a positive impact on the less fortunate. Rayner says the community as a whole has really stepped up to help make sure they stay filled and ready to help.
“People take their kids out to refill them people call and ask for the locations so they can refill them,” added Rayner.
There are currently six pantry locations:
- 29th and MLK
- 27th and Harding
- 42nd and Post
- 10th and Denny
- Downtown under bridge near union station
- 38th and Franklin