Food pantry in Noblesville aims to help college students

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – A new food pantry that opened this summer is filling a big need in a central Indiana community. The new pantry located at Ivy Tech in Noblesville is the first of its kind.

“Hi there!" said a smiling volunteer at the first station in the assembly line like setup at the Gleaners Food Pantry in Noblesville. After just over an hour, more than 60 households came through to pick up food.

"I need the food or I wouldn't be here,” said Diana Miller, who said she relies on food banks because she can't afford to grocery shop.

"Sometimes one of the neighbors will pick up a gallon of milk and say 'oh we got too much' and bring it to me, even though I know they're just kidding me because they know I can't afford it,” said Miller.

Gleaners opened another food pantry in Hamilton County to help Miller and countless others in the same situation.

“People would be surprised to know perhaps that Hamilton County ranks number one on our meals per person in need report from Feeding America,” said Sarah Estell, Senior Director of Communication and Digital Strategy at Gleaners.

Estell said besides the county it’s in, this pantry was strategically located for another reason.

“Pantries in schools is not a new concept for us," Estell said.  "Pantries at a college campus? That is a new concept for us."

Estell says a major reason students don’t finish college is because of a lack of affordable childcare, and hunger. With the food pantry, she hopes to solve at least one of those problems, giving people a chance to earn degrees, and better jobs.

"The best cure for hunger is a paycheck that will help put food on the table for you and your family,” Estell said.

Starting October 5, the pantry will be open every Friday, giving more access to students, seniors and anyone in need.

“I just think it’s so wonderful that there are people out there that are willing to help those who need it," said Miller. "There are really no words for it. To me, they are a godsend.”