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  • Writer's pictureHope Center Indy

David Nolen Pantry of Hope Partners with ITOWN’s Feed Your Neighbor

Many children across the United States face food insecurities, especially on the weekends and during school breaks. It’s also common for the human trafficking of children to begin in unstable home environments, where weekly groceries are not a guarantee.

Hope Center Indy’s David Nolen Pantry of Hope has partnered with ITOWN Church’s Feed Your Neighbor to help provide groceries to local kids, from elementary to high school, as well as others.

Michelle Gambrel, Hope Center Indy’s Food Services Director, attends ITOWN Church and was one of the first people they turned to when they decided they were going to restart their Feed Your Neighbor program.  

“They wanted to make sure the children missing the gap were taken care of,” says Michelle. “These kids can’t just get in a car and drive to the David Nolen Pantry of Hope for food.”

Michelle, who already sources food each week, was quickly able utilize her contacts to help Feed Your Neighbor. Things moved at a rapid pace from there.

Hope Center Indy is now considered the “Food Hub” for Feed Your Neighbor. ITOWN organizes teams of volunteers to come to Hope Center Indy two days a week to pack boxes. These boxes contain fruit and breakfast items, lunches and dinners, and snacks and candy.

“I want to make sure these kids have what they need on the weekend,” says Michelle. “They’re going to need a Friday dinner, a Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Once these boxes are packed, teams from Feed Your Neighbor pick the boxes up and deliver them to designated locations across central Indiana, many of which are schools.

There are currently 22 Feed Your Neighbor locations, 18 of which have refrigerators.

The demand for boxes is high.

“We now have schools constantly calling us asking, can you bring food to us? Can we have a refrigerator?”

The refrigerators are kept near the school councilors office since they typically have a better idea of which students have a less stable home environment. It’s up

to them to determine which students most need a box.

“It’s not any different than what we’re doing, it just gives us more to do; more food flow,” says Michelle of the addition. “It’s also opened up a lot of connections.”

Because of this partnership with Feed Your Neighbor, more people now know about Hope Center Indy and are involved with the David Nolen Pantry of Hope.

“They’re introduced to Hope Center Indy and the David Nolen Pantry of Hope and some of them have said, you know I really like it here. This is where I want to help all the time.” 

Along with feeding the body, Feed Your Neighbor is feeding souls as well. Those who visit the Feed Your Neighbor website are invited to give their lives to Jesus and connect with a local faith group.

“The best thing about it is that on each refrigerator it says, Jesus loves you,” says Michelle. “We love you. We want to show you His love.”

(Note: Feed Your Neighbor boxes are not available at Hope Center Indy for pickup by the public. If you are in need of food, please visit the Feed Your Neighbor website, or stop by the David Nolen Pantry of Hope on Thursday evening from 5 to 7 p.m.)

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