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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. – The Salvation Army of Johnson County will close its food pantry in downtown Greenwood as part of a plan to help more Johnson County families through other programs.

On May 9, the food pantry located at 325 Market Plaza will close and all food inventory will be transferred and merged with Interchurch Food Pantry in Franklin.

“It’s really a strategic move for us to be a better community partner overall,” said Capt. Vinal Lee.  “So this change allows us to be more strategic with our programs, and also better stewards of community’s resources, both in finances and in-kind donations.”

Currently, the Salvation Army food pantry in Greenwood serves roughly 20 families each month, Lee said.  That’s compared to roughly 120 households served every day by Interchurch Food Pantry, according to director Carol Phipps.

“Our volume of people coming in to get assistance has gone up from last year at this same time period, it’s gone up by about 39 percent,” Phipps said.  “People coming in, what we hear from them is that they’re getting squeezed by the prices.”

Instead of running a small food pantry and doubling up services, Lee said the Salvation Army could help more Hoosiers by focusing on programs designed to help those facing poverty and homelessness. That includes providing financial assistance to those in need.

“In this last year, we provided $120,000 of financial assistance to Johnson County residents,” Lee said.  “That’s about $100,000 more than we’ve done in any year previously.”

Lee says the space in the small Greenwood building can be better used for classrooms, counseling and case management services.

At the same time, Salvation Army and Interchurch Food Pantry will begin a new partnership by referring clients to each other based on an individual’s needs.

“Interchurch can refer to us for financial assistance because that’s not a program that they do,” Lee said.  “And we can refer back for food pantry and we can have this beautiful collaboration.”

“We’re happy to refer people to their programs,” said Phipps said.  “The way that we can do the most good is by working with other non-profits, other charities.  And the more partnership we can do, the better.”

Lee said the Greenwood food pantry is expected to close on May 9.  At that time, all remaining food inventory will be delivered to Interchurch Food Pantry.  He hopes to have the food pantry space converted for other programs by the end of May.