JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind – Officials with the town of Bargersville are quickly working out the details of a food distribution program after being awarded a $100,000 grant from the state.
Bargersville is one of 13 communities around the state that received nearly $2 million in grant funding from the Indiana Office of Rural and Community Affairs. The grants were announced last week and are intended to address some of the most pressing needs in each community. Other examples include expanded COVID-19 testing in Cass County and small business relief funding in Delphi.
“100,000 dollars can go a long way to providing food and supplies,” said Bargersville spokesperson Laura Kennedy. “Most importantly, a system to get those food and supplies to the people in the area.”
Town officials and the Bargersville Main Street organization are still in the process of working out the logistics of the program, which will include delivering food to residents and a community pickup location.
The real challenge now is identifying which residents could benefit the most from the program. For that, the town is reaching out to area food pantries, churches, and community foundations.
“The town of Bargersville received the grant but does not have a system in place to reach out to those in need like the food pantries, churches, foundations already do,” Kennedy said. “They have a link to those who might be in need already, and a network.”
At Great Harvest Food Pantry, on U.S. 31, volunteers say they’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of people seeking help since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
“We’ve seen a 400-percent increase of those people coming in to receive food and items from our food pantry,” said Outreach Pastor, Ed Garcia. “We’ve noticed here in the past ten days, 50-percent that come in are first time receivers.”
Food pantries like Great Harvest, and others around the Bargersville area, could be a great resource in identifying the most vulnerable members of the community, Kennedy said.
“If they live alone and they’re elderly, if they don’t have the ability to get protective gear or a ride,” Kennedy said.
“We’ve noticed with a lot of the elderly within our own church family and in the community here, that a lot of them are afraid to leave their homes,” Garcia said.
While the details of the distribution program are still being worked out, Bargersville officials are already in talks with a large food distributor, Kennedy added. They hope to start purchasing food for the program as early as next week.
People who need help with food supplies, or those who want to volunteer for the program, can email the town of Bargersville at firstname.lastname@example.org