Souped up school bus aims to feed Indy’s hungry
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An Indianapolis mobile food pantry is hitting the streets for the first time.
The Food Access Mobile — or FAM — bus is headed to serve food deserts around central Indiana. Its first event was providing Thanksgiving meals Saturday.
On the outside, it appears to be a regular school bus with a few slight modifications.
However, on the inside, it is filled with refrigerated shelves and lots of food.
It’s a mobile grocery store that started as Jeff Piper’s dream. He is a veteran and part of Veterans Industries and Arts Incorporated.
“I envisioned a bus full of food traveling around the city,” said Piper. “I made some notes, I went out a couple of weeks later, and I bought a bus.”
The transformation wasn’t easy. It took a few years to get the project ready.
“And when I realized that I was floundering with that portion of it, that’s when I decided oh, yeah, my friend Merlin. So when I called Faith Hope Love, we just worked together, and this came together really quickly,” said Piper.
Merlin Gonzales is President/CEO of Faith Hope and Love Community. It’s a non-profit that aims to help solve hunger in Indiana.
“We want to be able to establish missionary hubs, resources hubs, including food in food desert areas, because you and I know food insecurity could be a symptom of other needs in the community,” said Gonzales.
Faith Hope Love plans to take this mobile food pantry a bit further, not just in distance, but service.
“If there is anything that the local community can help them, such as maybe job training or maybe counseling or whatever it is, then we come alongside them. So it’s a holistic approach in alleviating hunger beyond just giving away food,” said Gonzales.
But right now, they’re celebrating.
“I am touching a vision,” said Piper. “A vision that I have carried in my head for three years and today, it’s real!”
Faith Hope Love is looking for more places to partner up with the project.
Eventually, it would like to be able to serve every food desert in central Indiana.