INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – According to Feeding America, nearly 900,000 people across the state of Indiana are considered food insecure, meaning they have no idea where their next meal will come from.
In smaller communities, the closest food pantry could be miles away. For a struggling family, the cost of transportation might make the trip impossible.
That’s why community members in the town of Fortville have decided to take matters into their own hands and start their own.
“You have to have electricity, you have to have heat, you have to have water and things like that, and the last thing on your list a lot of times believe it or not, can be food,” said Theresa Werking with the Joint Food Pantry Task Force.
“There is definitely a need here in Fortville.”
The task force is centered on bringing a food pantry to the Fortville area. Outside of a few small pantries at churches, the town lacks a main location.
”Right now the food pantries we have are open a couple hours a week,” said task force member Rick Doll. “People, if they work and are struggling, they can’t get to them when they get off work.”
The closest large food bank is out in Greenfield, but for families struggling, the gas money quickly adds up. The stress of finding a meal grows, too.
“If you don’t know where that next meal is coming from, what that does to you… what that does to a parent,” Werking said. “Watching a child be hungry can be really scary.”
According to Feeding America, in Hancock County nearly 10% of people are considered food insecure–nearly 7,000 people total.
Right now the task force is working to become a 501c3 organization, and they currently don’t have the space to store food. They’re hoping someone can lend them a large space, so they can distribute pallets of food, not just grocery bags.
“Right now anything we get we have to put out right away, we don’t have any way to store things long term,” Werking said. “For right now were just looking for a few hundred square feet of space with a door that locks, that is climate controlled.”
There’s still a long way to go until their goal is realized, but they say any help from the community will go a long way.
“It can be so heartbreaking to watch all of this, so we want to prevent food insecurity as much as possible,” Werking said.