Community encouraged to give back as they give thanks

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– It’s the time of year to gather with friends and family and give thanks, but it’s also the time of year when families in need look for help. John Whitaker with Midwest Food Bank said one in six Hoosiers needs food assistance.

The Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation of Indiana is getting help in the form of a big donation this holiday season. The organization 40,000 Pounds of Giving is collecting canned goods at Monument Circle Friday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. Those items will go to fill the pantry at HVAF.

“I think it’s crucial we join together to help organizations that will help the homeless and veterans and hungry in our community,” said Carl Denny with 40,000 Pounds of Giving.

HVAF provides three meals a day to the veterans who live there as they work to get back on their feet after facing homelessness.

“I was homeless. I had no idea where I was going to get my next meal and there’s nothing worse than waking up hungry, cold, tired and just not knowing what you’re going to do the next day,” said Ken N., who said HVAF has helped him turn his life around.

HVAF also serves about 200 additional homeless veterans through outreach programs each week.

“Certainly during the holidays the need is great, but the need is great throughout the year,” said Debra Des Vignes with HVAF. “We encourage all Hoosier residents to keep HVAF in their thoughts and support our veterans and to donate.”

There’s also a need for coats and blankets this time of year. The Horizon House is holding a drive-through coat and blanket donation drive in its parking lot at 1033 East Washington Street from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday and 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

Fox59 is teaming up with Gleaners Food Bank and Mayor Greg Ballard’s office for the Pack the Pantries campaign this holiday season. There are several donation drop-off locations throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana.