August 6—RUSHVILLE—Thursday was a big day at the Rush County Community Assistance Food Pantry.
Not only were board members and volunteers able to help patrons with food, the pantry received a big boost in financial support for its expansion into a multi-purpose community center planned for the former Walmart building.
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana has awarded a $500,000 grant to the Rush County Community Assistance Food Pantry.
Darilyn Bedel said the RCCA applied for the grant last year and the Rushville facility was awarded in December 2021.
“Rushville is one of our modeling agencies in our network,” said Kathy Keiner, Chief Impact Officer for Gleaners.
The food pantry will be joined by other social service agencies such as WIC, ICAP, the Rush County Senior Citizens Center and the Rushville Public Library in the new Recreation, Education and Collaboration (REC) Center.
“It will be great to have all the other social service agencies in one place,” said Sarah Estell, senior director of communications for the Gleaners. “We are very pleased to support the efforts in Rush County.”
Estell noted that since 2019, Gleaners has awarded a total of 160 capacity grants totaling $3.9 million.
“The grant awarded to Rush County Community Assistance is the largest single award to date. Well deserved given the scope of the project the community is building for the county,” said Estell.
Along with food and financial support, Gleaners has a Voice of Our Neighbors initiative.
According to senior resource manager Richard Gordan, the initiative gathers information about issues that cause individuals to line up at local food pantries.
The survey gathered information from over 800 responses. The information will be shared with local agencies to help promote local efforts to reduce addiction and residents’ needs.
Gleaners members also held community meetings to discuss issues facing those in need. Some factors may be lack of money to buy food or health decisions. Do residents use a certain amount of cash to buy medicine or food? Gleaners wants to take the information and use it to determine which programs can reduce addiction.
“We want to stand alongside and support the local people who know their places best. We give them information in the hope that it will help reduce residents’ dependence on locations,” said Gordan. “Locals are experts.”
A Gleaners survey shows 1-in-6 Hoosiers are food insecure. Rush County’s food insecurity rate is 13.8% with 2,290 people who are food insecure and 630 children.
This year, Gleaners in Rush County distributed 581,000 pounds of food, provided 484,167 meals and distributed 133,000 pounds of fresh produce.
Rush County Community Assistance’s mission is to help families in need obtain food beyond their income and supplemental government programs.
Decatur County has a food insecurity rate of 12.5% with 3,320 food insecure people and 940 children. 713,000 pounds of food distributed in 2022; 594,167 meals are provided; and 208,000 pounds of fresh produce was distributed.
The Rushville Food Pantry (109 East Third Street) is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The facility is also open from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month to distribute merchandise, which is everyone’s second shopping day.
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