‘A trusted partner’: Gleaners awards Shepherd $120,000 to help feed hungry families

The numbers are staggering, and for families already struggling to pay for necessities, scary.

 In February, according to the federal government, overall inflation increased at an annual rate of 7.9 percent – the sharpest increase in 40 years.  The price of gasoline increased 38 percent year over year. The cost of a used car or truck was up more than 41 percent.

And the cost of buying food to eat at home increased 8.6 percent.

All of which leaves people living in poverty struggling even more than usual to feed their families, pay their rent, and drive to work and back.

“It’s a really critical time right now as we look at continued rising prices, food costs especially,” Andrew Green, assistant executive director of Shepherd Community Center, said. “We know those costs hit our neighbors hard.”

To help neighbors cope with the surge in inflation and to expand access to nutritious food in Indianapolis’ urban core, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana presented Shepherd with a check for $120,000 on March 7.  The money will underwrite another expansion of Shepherd’s community food pantry, which helps to feed hundreds of families on the east side.

“Shepherd has been rewarded by Gleaners for stepping up in so many ways and for knowing the neighborhood very, very well,” John Elliott, president and CEO of Gleaners, said. “I don’t think any community center in the city knows their neighborhood better than Shepherd, and not just the food security needs but all of the interconnected challenges of poverty such as education, workforce development and transportation.”

Elliott said Gleaners expanded its home delivery program during the COVID-19 pandemic and worked to identify partners who could help lead the effort.

“We needed a trusted partner that we knew would do it the right way,” Elliott said. “Shepherd has been doing a fantastic job in delivering food to homes. I know they’ll do a fantastic job with the expansion of this pantry.”

Green said work on the expansion will begin soon and should be completed in about two months. The pantry provides neighbors with meat, vegetables, fruit and other nutritious options that often are either not available at nearby stores or are too expensive for people in poverty.

“We’re incredibly thankful for the gift from Gleaners and for the ongoing partnership,” Green said. “We’re excited about being able to continue and grow that partnership for the sake of our neighbors.”

To help feed families in need in Indianapolis as they struggle to cope with rising food prices, visit https://shepherdcommunity.org/give/donate/

To serve as a volunteer with the food pantry or other Shepherd ministries, go to https://shepherdcommunity.org/serve/volunteer/