Franklin food pantry keeps food out of the landfill and into the hands of Hoosiers in need

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FRANKLIN, Ind. -- "Here’s an example of some of the food rescue that came in,” said Interchurch Pantry Manager Carol Phipps as she pointed to a crate of frozen food in the freezer.

The food arrived from a local school, where it went unused. Instead of being dumped into the trash, it’s ready to go out to families in need.

“We really prefer getting that food into peoples mouths as opposed to it ending up in landfills, which is the other option,” Phipps said.

It’s part of a food rescue mission at Interchurch Food Pantry of Johnson County. Volunteers make trips to local schools, grocery stores and restaurants. They collect the food that won't be used and bring it to the pantry.

Cooked items like pizza and fried chicken are picked up within a few hours, and the rest doesn't stay long either.

"This is where we give out all our milk and juices," Phipps said as she pointed to the now empty crates, filled from the morning trip to area schools. "Today we’ve run though all the donated milks and juices.”

Roughly 80 households come through Interchurch every day. The food pantry was given a truck so they can make the rescue trips on their own, but the extra work requires more volunteers.

“We take people from all walks of life and all ages,” Phipps said. "We need a mixture. We need people who can drive, and as a separate skill set people who are strong.”

In the summer months, that means more high school age volunteers like Dylan Clarke.

“You get to help people, and it’s actually a fun job in my opinion,” Clarke said.

Clarke is at the pantry almost daily helping with sorting and deliveries. Although he doesn’t get a paycheck, he and the other volunteers fell they still receive something in return.

“We're really here to bring a smile to people's faces and hopefully make their day a little bit brighter," Phipps said. It’s very fulfilling when we’re able to do that.”

Phipps says they never turn away volunteers, and are hoping for at least 10 more.

For more information on donating or volunteering, click HERE.

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