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Community steps up to pack a school pantry and revive a heartbroken family

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A struggling school food pantry got a huge donation Friday, which will make a difference for dozens of hungry families and help revive a heartbroken family with a special connection to the pantry.

The pantry at Global Prep Academy on the near north side serves 30 families per month, but was pretty much empty after losing its biggest donor last year.

Dionne Coleman Langs oversees the pantry and regrets having to turn families away.

“It takes a little bit just to even to come in to ask for it, but to come and then not receive it, I mean that really hurt my heart," she said.

That's when the community stepped in. With the help of FOX59 and the Financial Center, Midwest Food Bank teamed up with Clif Bar Baking Company to donate boxes of food including 32,000 Z-bars made in Indianapolis.

They didn't just help fill the pantry with food, they revived the Hitchings family. 8-year-old Karrisa Hitchings was killed in 2008. Her school opened the pantry in her name calling it Karrisa's Closet.

"This is something special, you know," said Laura Hitchings as tears rolled down her face.

Karrisa's father Christopher said he had never seen the pantry before now and was taken back by how the community stepped up to help so many families in his daughter's name.

“I miss her, but to know that all this is being done in her name... This is the best day of my life. It is truly the best day of my life,” she said.

"Out of turmoil and trials there’s not a tremendous amount of joy that can be had from people that receive the basic necessity of food for their families," said John Whitaker, Executive Director of Midwest Food Bank.

To hep FOX59 Pack the Pantries in Central Indiana, you can give monetary donations at the Midwest Food Bank website or the Gleaners website.