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INDIANAPOLIS — A pilot program now offered by Gleaners Food Bank is giving Hoosiers in need the option to use online shopping and curbside pickup as a way of bringing home the food they need.

Gleaners2Go launched last month and is the latest effort to find more ways to help those dealing with hunger.

“As challenging as the pandemic has been for the neighbors we serve, for Gleaners staff and volunteers and others, there have been a list of positive outcomes from this pandemic,” said Gleaners Food Bank President and CEO John Elliott.  “One of those is our ability to expand our service offerings, expand our program offerings.”

Gleaners2Go is an online portal where clients can shop for food that’s available that week and set up pickup times at Gleaners’ distribution center.

“And then we’ll pack it here at Gleaners, and then when they show up during their specific time to pick it up, we’ll bring it out to their car,” said Gleaners Director of Food Strategy Alexandra McMahon.

The program follows a model that has become widely familiar and popular at stores and restaurants since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.  Online shopping and curbside pickup have become staples for many families and businesses in the last year and a half.  Gleaners2Go represents a similar effort to change with the times.

Elliott says the first client to use the new program was an elderly woman who had four children in her car.

“She couldn’t come indoors because of her own mobility challenge, but also with four kids in tow, and you could say Gleaners To Go was designed with her in mind,” he said.

The program also represents the growing number of ways Gleaners is able to connect Hoosiers with food they need.  In addition to in-person shopping and Gleaners2Go, the organization also offers drive-thru distributions on Saturdays and home deliveries.

“We just wanted to offer new and unique ways to our neighbors and this was one of the ways that we could do that,” McMahon said.  “They’re able to, maybe before work or after work, come and grab their groceries and then head on home and not really have to in the pantry line.”

As a pilot program, Gleaners2Go is currently offered on Mondays and Fridays.  Organizers hope to grow the program and eventually offer it in all 21 Indiana counties that Gleaners serves.