Mobile food pantry moves indoors

A Seymour food pantry and family assistance center has made arrangements to move its mobile service indoors for the winter.

Anchor House, which works with Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis to offer a monthly mobile food pantry, will begin serving clients at the Shoppes at Seymour, formerly Tanger Outlet Mall, in December.

The mobile food pantry is available on the third Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next pantry day will be Dec. 16.

In the past, the mobile food pantry has been offered inside the former AVI Foodsystems building on East Second Street. The service was moved to the parking lot of First United Methodist Church after the AVI building was sold to CrossFit gym earlier this year. During spring and summer months Anchor House has used Shields Park for the mobile food pantry site.

During this month’s mobile pantry day, a constant rain made it inconvenient for volunteers and people to stand outside in line to wait.

“The option was to either cancel or have it in the rain,” said Deb Bedwell, executive director of Anchor House. “We lost our winter pantry location and were having a difficult time finding an appropriate spot with parking and bays tall enough to drive the truck into.”

In the end, they served nearly 100 families that day.

“I’m glad we didn’t cancel, because that would have been 100 hungry families,” she said.

She credits volunteers like Julie Otte for making the mobile food pantry work even in less than ideal conditions.

“We are always about taking care of others so a little rain won’t keep us from delivering services,” Bedwell said.

The indoor location, in Suite 214 at Shoppes at Seymour, will be used through March.

Bedwell said it wasn’t easy to find a place big enough for Gleaner’s truck.

“With the size of the truck, you need to have a space with a very high bay to be able to accommodate it,” she said. “This truck is meant to be served off of, not offloaded into a facility.”

Anchor House will work with Gleaners to schedule the use of a smaller box truck and pallet jack for the next few months.

The Gleaners Mobile Food Pantry has been setting up monthly in Seymour for the past four and a half years and makes other stops in the county and region. It offers people an allotment of government food commodities and other donations on a first come, first serve basis until all food is distributed.

Besides the mobile pantry and Anchor House, residents of Jackson County also can get food from Community Provisions of Jackson County, 107 W. Bruce St., and Human Services Inc., 1115 E. Oak St., both of which operate food pantries. The Alley Kitchen, at 416 E. Second St., serves a free, hot meal from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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What: Anchor House and Gleaner’s monthly mobile food pantry

Where: Shoppes at Seymour (formerly Tanger Outlet Mall), Suite 214, 357 Tanger Boulevard

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month through March