With dine-in hot meal locations temporarily closed during the current public health crisis, food pantries and community service organizations have stepped up to meet the increased demand and serve those in need. Acting rapidly, food pantries have adjusted their services to meet the evolving guidelines of the CDC and Indiana State Board of Health to ensure people are not without food.
Indy Hunger Network, maintains a comprehensive list of statewide food resources and changes in assistance programs due to COVID-19.
Two Midtown-based food pantries are open and serving the public.
Boulevard Place Food Pantry
4202 Boulevard Pl.
Status: Reopening April 22
Hours: Wed. 10 a.m.–noon; Thursday 2–4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.–noon (subject to change)
Service area: Residents within St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Luke, St. Joan of Arc, Christ the King, and Immaculate Heart of Mary parishes
COVID-19 modifications: Drive-up pantry with pre-bagged canned and dried foods; choice of meat protein and fresh fruits and vegetables (as available); limited check-in; food will be placed under a tent and recipients will load it into their vehicles
Items available: Pre-bagged canned and dried foods, baked goods; choice of meat protein, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
Special items/services: Limited quantity of toiletries, laundry soap, and diapers. Nutritional counseling; SNAP outreach and application assistance.
Number of clients: Approximately 40,040 persons received 490,000 pounds of food in 2019.
Funding: Cash and in-kind donations from parishes, Butler University, Unitarian Universalist Church, Fairview Presbyterian Church, Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, Meridian Street UMC, Einstein Bagels, and Sharp Gardens. Discounted eggs from HATCH. Donations from Gleaners Food Bank and Second Helpings. Fresh fruits and vegetables from Broad Ripple Farmers Market.
Years of operation: over 30 years; 8 in current location; 23 at St. Thomas.
Staff: 120 volunteers; limited to 6 per shift
Volunteer opportunities: Preparation of food bags prior to distribution (limited to four people); distribution of food bags to shoppers (limited to six people). Interested individuals can email email@example.com.
Mid-North Food Pantry
3333 N. Meridian St. (parking lot)
Hours: Mon., Wed., 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m.; Fri. 10 a.m.–noon (subject to change)
Service area: Zip codes 46205 and 46208
COVID-19 modifications: Drive-up pantry relocated to the parking lot and converted to walk-up service; pre-bagged frozen meat, produce, fresh eggs, and canned goods under 50 lbs.; hybrid client-choice model where clients can request that unwanted items be removed
Items available: Pre-bagged food which includes fresh seasonal produce, frozen meat, fresh eggs, canned goods, dried beans, rice, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese mix; cereal, bread and pastries.
Special items/services: Typical personal care items are not presently in stock.
Number of clients: More than 12,000 families in 2019 equating to approximately 45,000 individuals.
Funding: Most comes from Trinity Episcopal, Tabernacle Presbyterian, First Friends, and Broadway United Methodist churches; corporate donors who have assisted with grants; targeted fundraising; and individuals. Approximately 70,000 lbs. of food donated from Whole Foods in 2019. Gleaners Food Bank supplies 22,755 pounds of food per month. Second Helpings and Midwest Food Bank donate food, as do local grocery stores and other businesses.
Years of Operation: 45+
Staff: 1 pantry manager; 75 regular volunteers; 200–250 volunteers throughout the year
Volunteer opportunities: Preparation of food bags prior to distribution (limited to four people; recommending families work together); distribution of food to shoppers; drive and drop-off of food to compromised population; work in the gardens or “grow a row” in your own garden to dedicate to any local charity distributing food.
MORE COVERAGE: Midtown Food Pantries Adapt for Safety During Crisis
City of Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation provides free meals to all children 18 and under. Effective April 13, the Indy Parks Mobile Serving Site in Midtown at Broad Ripple Park, 1550 Broad Ripple Ave., will be held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon to 12:30 p.m. The van will be parked outside the Dog Park for drive-by distribution. Second Helpings will provide ready-to-heat meals for adults.
Gleaners, Indy Hunger Network, and 913 Sports have partnered to deliver food from the Gleaners pantry to clients during the COVID-19 crisis. People in need of food assistance who are elderly, pregnant, immune-compromised, or have been told by a physician to stay home, may be eligible for home delivery of food pantry items. Presently available to Marion County residents, home delivery may be requested by calling 317-742-9111 or by texting “Gleaners” to 55433.
Indianapolis Public Schools Food Service team will provide prepackaged meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—to all students on Mondays and Wednesdays. On Mondays, students will receive six prepackaged meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to cover three meals a day for two days. On Wednesdays, students will receive nine prepackaged meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to cover three meals a day for three days. The prepackaged meals will be distributed from the parking lot of several IPS schools. Midtown schools include James Whitcomb Riley School 43, 150 W. 40th St., 11 a.m. to noon, and Louis B. Russell Jr. School 48, 3445 Central Ave, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Indianapolis Public Schools and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc. have partnered to provide additional nutritional support for all IPS students and families in central Indiana during the COVID-19 health crisis. Families will receive one 17-pound box of food, which includes a variety of nonperishable meal-making items. Identification is not needed. Two Midtown locations are slated for Monday deliveries from 4 to 6 p.m.: IPS/Butler University Laboratory School 55, 1349 E. 54th St., and Shortridge High School, 3401 N. Meridian St. Questions? Call the IPS Service Center, 317-226-4000.
MLK Center volunteers deliver meals on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with priority given to Midtown and Mid-North neighborhoods. An online food delivery request form must first be completed before 8 a.m. on the day food delivery is required. Volunteers are needed for a variety of duties, especially drivers.
Compiled by Thomas P. Healy and MaryBeth Eiler