25% of Marion County Hoosiers need food assistance, Indy Hunger Network offering grants to help food pantries meet need

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Twenty-five percent of Marion County Hoosiers need help finding their next meal. The pandemic increased hunger among our neighbors, and African Americans are more severely impacted.

“The rates are higher in certain groups and most notable is that if you are an African American person in Indianapolis, you have a 50% higher chance of having food insecurity than the general population,” Indy Hunger Network Executive Director Kate Howe said. “So, that’s a really big concern to us that there is a particular group that’s experiencing significantly higher hunger and we’re looking at ways that we can better meet the need of the African American community.”

The Indy Hunger Network has about $108,000 in grant money to give out to applicants. Any 501C3 food pantry can apply.

The hunger network is encouraging minority-led food pantries to apply for the 2021 grants. Minister Lydia Davis, who leads the feeding ministry at Barnes United Methodist Church, said representation matters when you are serving the community.

“Because you know that we care, and you matter, then you’ll share a little bit more about what your needs are,” Davis said. “We know it’s physical food, how else can we help you? With the Black community, it’s trust.”

Davis’ food pantry is one of about 200 food pantries across Marion County. Fortunately, Community Compass, which you can find in your app store, online or through a texting platform, can connect you with the location nearest you offering free groceries and/or meals.

“It’s a way for people to find out, where’s the closest food pantry and when is it open,” Davis said. “What do I need to bring when I go there? Where can I get a free hot meal today?”

The Boulevard Place Food Pantry at 42nd and Boulevard received grant money from the Indy Hunger Network in the past.

“We’ve had a couple grants from them,” Cindy Brown, Pantry Director, said. “One of the grants helped buy the pallet jack.”

The grant money will help pantries afford new appliances or tools, and achieve best practices.

“Absolutely look at the Indy Hunger grant program because they’re very generous and it can help you with any of your overhead type needs that you might need,” Brown said.

If you would like to apply for one of these grants, visit www.indyhunger.org/grants2021.

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