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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It has been an issue in the circle city for several years. When four Double 8 grocery stores closed last summer, thousands of Indianapolis residents found themselves in a very short period of time living in a food desert. While a long term solution is still not clear, an Indianapolis college student is taking action.  A fellowship project has turned into a movement in just a few short weeks. It’s helping some folks now with the hope of inspiring long-term change for the future.

“Just to know that families have been fed is just so heartwarming and it`s such a positive thing,” said Community Food Box Founder, Sierra Nuckols.

Nuckols, a 20 year old Indianapolis resident and Hanover College Junior is giving food deserts in Indianapolis a small oasis.  Community food boxes made from upcycled newspaper distribution boxes are providing a helping hand for people living in areas where healthy affordable food is difficult to come by. “I just thought that this is a project that is necessary and I just did it. I was really surprised at how quick everything happened,” explained Nuckols.

She started the Community Food Box Project after a trip to South Africa through the Desmond Tutu Youth Fellowship.  Nuckols enlisted the help of others, got some old newspaper distribution boxes and created a facebook page to get the word out. In less than 24 hours, The Community Food Box Project`s facebook page had 10 messages and 500 shares!

“I`m just so happy to see all the positive support that this has had and I`m so glad to see that it`s turning into a movement,” said Nuckols.

After a spiffy paint job, the food boxes were put in place and stocked with free food for those who need it. The first went here at IPS School 56, Francis W. Parker Elementary School on the near northeast side. The other, at Rock of Faith Missionary Baptist Church off 38th Street on the East side.

Nuckols said the community food boxes are great, but they`re not a solution. “The ultimate goal is to create an avenue for the complete elimination of food deserts in Indianapolis,” Nuckols explained. Another box will be set up here at the MLK Community Center near 40th and Illinois and 7 more food boxes are on the way.

Nuckols says the more boxes, the greater the conversation on eliminating food deserts.  “I`m just really hoping that this creates a larger conversation in the City of Indianapolis about food deserts,” Nuckols concluded.

If you’d like to learn more, head to their Facebook page. If you want to donate, make sure to follow the guidelines below:

Donate these items:

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Canned food
  • Hygiene products
  • Diapers
  • Ready-to-eat food items
  • Ramen noodles
  • School supplies (unsharpened pencils, crayons, notebooks etc.)

Do not donate these items:

  • Sharp objects
  • Perishable food items
  • Chemicals
  • Previously worn clothing
  • Alcohol