Changes planned for Feed Evansville program, distribution to evolve

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — A major announcement was made Wednesday afternoon regarding how the Feed Evansville program will move forward.

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and Feed Evansville Chair Lisa Vaughan announced that the Feed Evansville program will transition and become part of the Commission on Food Security. The City Council established the Commission in April. 

Every week thousands of cars drive through Hartke Pool’s parking lot to pick up food donations. That will change over the next two months, as officials with the commission plan on working closely with food pantries, churches and other non-profits. 

“We have over 50% of children needing food systems and needing free and reduced breakfast and lunch,” said Vaughan. “That’s an indicator and flag of what’s going on in our community.”

Feed Evansville was an initiative started back in March 2020 to help with food insecurity during the pandemic. Feed Evansville was all part of the mayor’s reopening task force. 

Vaughan said the program was part of a short-term solution to food insecurity, but long-term solutions are now needed. 

“I think the pandemic if anything has put the spotlight on a need we have had for quite some time prior to our pandemic,” Vaughan said. 

Vaughan said residents experiencing food insecurity increased from 14% to 20% in 2020. Organizers said at the peak of the pandemic, up to 7,000 food boxes were given out a week. Now, the number is closer to 2,000. 

Mayor Winnecke said he believes collaboration between nonprofits, churches and other organizations is the best way to move forward. 

“We think that we will have broader outreach and better education about what is available,” Mayor Winnecke said. “This is a change and we want to make sure that our citizens understand where these resources are available, and frequently and in fact in almost every case there are locations that are much more convenient than the parking lot at Hartke Pool.” 

The move will ensure resources like education, eligibility requirements and transportation are all available to all community members going forward.

Boxes of food will continue to be handed out here at Hartke Pool until June 30, by then food donations will be available at many other areas across the city. Donations to Feed Evansville can be made at http://healthyevv.com/. Officials said an announcement will be made next month on which neighborhoods it will target.

(This story was originally published May 5, 2021)

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