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Hoosier food pantries getting help from Meijer customers

INDIANAPOLIS - Food pantries across Indiana are getting some extra assistance for the next few weeks. Funds are coming to 38 food pantries thanks to the Simply Give program through Meijer.

The program began on August 20 and runs until Saturday, September 16.

Meijer shoppers can buy $10 Simply Give gift cards, which are food-only gift cards. For each gift card purchase, Meijer also donates $10.

Click here to see which food pantry is partnered with which Meijer location.

On Friday, September 1 and Saturday, September 2, Meijer will donate $20 for each Simply Give gift card purchased.

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, located at 3001 E. 30th St., will benefit from donation cards purchased at the Meijer store located at 56th Street and Keystone Avenue.

“We use the cards to purchase food, most of the time, its dairy products and things of that nature that we might not get from other sources," said James Vento, the executive director at St. Vincent de Paul.

The food pantry typically relies on Gleaners for most of its products, but the gift cards play a major role when the pantry is short in dairy items or other products for the nearly 9,000 people it helps on a weekly basis.

“It’s been very helpful to work with Meijer. They’ve been very collaborative, very cooperative; it’s a great source for us," Vento said.

The Crooked Creek Food Pantry is another pantry teamed up with the retailer.

“It’s a wonderful thing for us," said Maria Blake, the chief operations officer at the pantry. "It allows us to keep the shelves filled with things that we know our clients need."

The pantry, which is located in Pike Township, tries to always have milk, produce and meats available for its families, and without the Simply Give program that wouldn't be possible.

“There is no doubt, there was a period of time where we probably would have to close for a week or two, because we simply did have enough food to be on the shelves," Blake said. "I can’t say enough about how wonderful this program is and what a blessing it is for us.”

According to Meijer's website, the program is the hallmark of the Meijer hunger relief efforts, which has helped neighborhood food pantries keep their shelves stocked since November 2008. This signature program has generated nearly $32 million, thanks to the continued generosity and support of Meijer customers, team members and food pantry partners who are committed to helping feed hungry families.

It adds that the 2017 spring campaign set a record with more than $3 million — or 33 million meals — making it the most successful campaign in the program’s history.