Pack the pantries: Addressing the hunger need in Hamilton County

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. – Hamilton County is Indiana’s most affluent county, but we found out, at least 41,000 families are looking for a helping hand.

Many of them are getting the food they need at the Care Center food pantry at Grace Church in Noblesville.

Along with groceries, this pantry offers a human connection.

“Most people who find themselves in either situational or generation poverty lack relationships,” said Shane Whybrew, Pastor of Stewardship and Resource Development at Grace.

This year, the Care Center hopes to double in size to keep up with the needs. And that’s indicative of the hunger problem facing Hamilton county. A problem some don’t believe is real.

“Our lower middle class has suffered the worst in the last 10 years of the recession,” said Nancy Chance, the Executive Director of the Good Samaritan Network.

According to the Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County, 41,000 families are going to pantries.

“Those are our people that are waiting on us in restaurants, in Jiffy Lube’s and car repair places. Those are the ones that are struggling to meet the daily needs. And we have to remember that without their services we would not be a county that would be in very good shape,” said Chance.

Midwest Food Bank helps by pumping a million pounds of food into the county’s network of food pantries each year.

That allows the Care Center at Grace to focus on other services to bring families out of poverty.

“Two years ago, 19 families come back to the Care Center and say they no longer need any of the four services at the Care Center. They’ve graduated,” said Whybrew. “The Care Center would not look like what it looks like today without our relationships with the Midwest food bank, Good Samaritan and a host of other organizations.”