A mobile food pantry will no longer serve the hungry in Jackson County after next month.
Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis will conduct its last mobile pantry day Sept. 21. Originally, it was going to end in August, but officials decided to delay the final pantry by a month to give people an opportunity to find another source for food assistance.
The food bank, which has served the community for many years, will continue to provide food to local backpack programs, school based pantries at Seymour High School and Brownstown Central High school, a senior program for those age 55 or older at the Brownstown Nazarene Church and through pantries at Anchor House, Human Services Inc. and Community Provisions of Jackson County, all located in Seymour.
Last year alone, Gleaners provided nearly half a million pounds of food to Jackson County, which is equivalent to about 386,000 meals, said Kathy Hahn Keiner, chief programs and agency relations officer for Gleaners.
Deb Bedwell, executive director of Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Food Pantry, said although she’s disappointed residents are losing the mobile pantry, she knows another opportunity will present itself.
“I firmly believe when one door closes, another one opens,” she said. “We’ll just have to get creative.”
Anchor House has worked with Gleaners for more than five years in providing the mobile food pantry. For the last year, the pantry has operated out of the Shoppes of Seymour, formerly Tanger Outlet Mall, on the city’s far east side.
“(Gleaners) said it was no reflection on us, but that there were other areas that needed it worse than our county,” Bedwell said of the mobile pantry.
Bedwell visited the mobile pantry site Wednesday to talk to those in line about the change.
“There was nothing but gratefulness from the people there for the service,” she said. “We will continue to fight for them and figure out ways to bring food to the community.”
One way could be the formation of a Hunger Coalition, which would help bring all the right resources and potential partners to the table to discuss the local need, Bedwell said.
“This brings awareness to our need,” she said. “It also shows that as a community, there is no better place to live than Jackson County because we take care of our own.”
Residents who are hungry also can get a free, hot meal at several locations in Seymour.
The Alley Kitchen, 416 E. Second St., serves from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and the Community Diner serves from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. every Monday at First United Methodist Church, 201 E. Third St. Peace Lutheran Church, 330 W. Tipton St., also serves a free dinner the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m.