Colts, Gleaners team up to help feed hungry Hoosiers

Indy Blitz

INDIANAPOLIS — Every Monday for the rest of October, Hoosiers will be able to get their hands on some goods from a local food bank. Gleaners has teamed up with the Indianapolis Colts to host a mobile food distribution drive at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana has been stepping up to the plate to feed Hoosiers in need.

“Up to 40% of the people that we’ve been seeing have never found themselves in need of food assistance before. I think it’s a clear statement to how many people are really on that line,” said Gleaners Senior Director of Communications Sarah Estell.

So far this year, they’ve already fed seven times the normal annual amount. They wanted to continue but hit a roadblock when it came to volunteers after the National Guard fulfilled their duties.

Last week, Gleaners didn’t have enough volunteers to feed the additional 400 households who needed assistance. The food bank tells us the month of September was their second-highest demand, with April being the first. They attribute that surge to the number of Hoosiers who relied on the additional unemployment dollars and eviction moratoriums.

“I think there’s just a lot of folks who were relying on that extra assistance to get by and maybe not need help, and then suddenly, they were in need,” said Estell.

So, they called the Colts to help fulfill the duties of the National Guard. The boys in blue accepted the offer, put down the pigskin, and picked up some boxes to give back to the community that supports them.

“It’s a core part of our mission as an organization to be a part of this community in everyday, beyond just playing football on the field,” said Indianapolis Colts VP of Marketing Stephanie Pemberton.

On the first Monday of the drive, Gleaners hoped to feed 1,600 families for a week with a 30-pound boxes of fruits, dairy and vegetables, and 20-pound boxes of pre-cooked meat.

With the holidays around the corner, they’re starting to worry what could be on the horizon with COVID not letting up.

“We will continue to need the community’s help. Yes, both from volunteerism and from financial donations,” said Estell.

Gleaners needs more finances as some incentives end. For months, local farmers have been providing free food, but that ends this month. With groceries costing more, they’re concerned about having to buy from stores again. But Gleaners appreciates the additional volunteers in blue to get them through October.

“Our guys are eager to still be able to give and to serve. So, for us it’s just continuing to find creative ways for them to do that,” said Pemberton.

Click here if you’re interested in volunteering.

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