I wanted to personally respond to an article published in the Aug. 18 edition of The Tribune regarding the closing of the Gleaner’s Mobile Pantry in Seymour.
On behalf of our staff, our board and and our volunteers, we want to clearly reiterate and confirm our support for residents of Jackson County and the agencies with whom we partner.
Gleaners established our mobile pantry program in 2000 as a quick response initiative to meet the ever-changing needs of the counties and communities we serve. Mobile pantries allow us to quickly and directly respond to identified needs throughout our 21-county service area.
A variety of factors determine where the greatest need for a mobile pantry might be. Natural disasters, a spike in unemployment or a rise in the poverty rate directly impact the deployment of mobile units.
These needs and statistics are constantly monitored and evaluated in order to ensure that our mobile pantries are deployed to the areas of greatest need.
But that doesn’t mean we no longer serve Jackson County. To the contrary, some programs have actually expanded in the last year. Specifically, the senior mobile pantry was added just in the last year. In addition, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana provides services through a variety of programs:
Over 250 BackSacks are distributed each Friday to children in Brownstown, Crothersville, Medora and Seymour schools who may not have access to nutritious meals over the weekend. These children receive food for six meals and a snack that is shelf-stable, nutritious and that they enjoy.
A senior mobile pantry for Jackson County residents, ages 55 and over is held the third Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at Brownstown Church of the Nazarene. This pilot program was recently established to combat growing needs among older Hoosiers.
School-based pantries are operated at both Brownstown Central and Seymour high schools, offering grocery staples and personal hygiene supplies to students and their families at no charge.
Perishable and non-perishable food and supplies are delivered to local agencies, including Anchor House, Community Provisions of Jackson County and Human Services of Jackson County. Agencies are able to request and order what they need based on donations they have received, as well as the needs and requests of those they serve.
As you can see, the mobile pantry program is but a small part of the ongoing services we provide. We remain committed to continuing our efforts to improve food security for Jackson County residents and all we serve.
Cindy Hubert is president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Send comments to [email protected].