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INDIANAPOLIS –  September is Hunger Action Month and to kick things off an east side food pantry is celebrating a renovation that will bring fresh options to hungry Hoosiers.

Old Bethel Food Pantry cut the ribbon on a new, renovated cooler on Wednesday, which is a sign of hope for their neighborhood.

“Such a blessing! Such a gift to us, because before the cooler was so old and the doors were so old that we oftentimes would have to discard food,” said Arin Schellenberg, the director of Old Bethel Food Pantry.

When you have roughly 700 people to feed a week, that’s a problem. The pantry serves a lot of young, single mothers that need to feed their families along with the elderly and people who have lost their job due to the pandemic and many homeless people.

Thankfully, they will continue to help those in need because perishable food like dairy, eggs, fresh fruits, vegetables and protein can now be stored safely with sealing doors and a space that maintains the proper temperature.

“It goes a long way,” she added.

The renovation was funded, in part, by a grant from Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. The organization is focusing on its food pantry partners in 21 counties across the state.  They’re spending millions of dollars working on projects to break down barriers. Gleaners stress that it shouldn’t matter where you live, you should always have access to nutritious food.

“It’s ambitious, but we’re going to get it done and that’s part of how we’re going to close the meal gap that we’re not going to accept anymore, even though it’s persisted for decades,” said John Elliot, the president and CEO of Gleaners.  

The company, Corteva Agriscience, is leading the challenge. They announced a gift and are encouraging others to join in.

“We hope others will take advantage of this challenge match of this $125,000 and really to do more to help local food pantries, just like here at bethel,” said Heidi Spahn, Global Community Investment with Corteva.

All three groups are taking action during Hunger Action Month, to close the meal gap and address the hunger crisis in the city.

If you want to help, the food pantry and Gleaners are always searching for volunteers. Click here to see what opportunities are available at Gleaners Food Bank right now.

Click here to learn more about Old Bethel Food Pantry and if you’d like to help.