INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One in five people in Marion County deal with food insecurity, but thankfully there are hundreds of pantries for them to turn to. Thursday, those volunteers and workers gathered at the second annual Food Pantry Network Summit to learn how to improve their pantries.
Close to 200,000 Hoosiers in Marion County rely on their local food pantries. Many people think they’re huge operations, but most of them are not.
“Most food pantries are really small organizations and might be run out of a church or temple,” Indy Hunger Network Managing Director Kate Howe said.
It’s places like Light of the World Christian Church. Their pantry is open every Monday and every day close to 100 families come in.
“I’m away from home a lot because I do a lot of picking up to help. It’s time consuming. My husband says my second home is here and I say that’s okay because you couldn’t have a better boss than God,” Light of the World Christian Church member Iris Embry said.
Embry runs the pantry, which she says comes with a lot of challenges. It’s why Indy Hunger Network hosts the Food Pantry Networking Summit.
“Often they don’t have training. They don’t have support. They don’t necessarily have skills in fundraising or food safety, so those are the things we’re trying to give them here today,” Howe said.
“Indy Hunger Network is trying to help people get new ideas about where to get food, how to find volunteers, and how to raise money so we can provide more food to people in need,” Howe said.
Embry said running the pantry at her church has been a humbling experience.
“Sometimes we take life for granted and we have to realize that even though we have shelter over our head some people don’t. They don’t have food in the refrigerator and you always have to think of others,” Embry said.