It’s the time of year when many organizations host canned food drives to donate to local food pantries. There haven’t been as many of those drives this year and that has sometimes made an impact on the offerings available locally to those in need.
Feed My Sheep volunteers are working hard to try and make sure everyone has food for the holiday.
“Our shelves have looked pretty bare at times,” said Director for Feed My Sheep Sandra Rice. “The need keeps growing. We served 292 people in two days in October. Then we turned around and served 292 people in a single day in November.”
Feed My Sheep is not the only pantry that has had to work to keep things going this year.
“We give away food at the First Baptist Church on Monday and Thursday,” said Rev. Tim Baxter, adding those needing a little extra help should call the church before coming over on days the pantry is open. “Some of those days are really busy. Some are not.”
Like a lot of things this year COVID has had an impact on giving.
“We are not getting as many food donations as in years past,” said Rice. “People just aren’t getting together like they have in the past.”
On Wednesday the National Turkey Federation White River Long Beards donated two pallets of canned goods to Feed My Sheep.
First Baptist Church also has received some help from a local fitness club.
“The folks at Anytime Fitness have been a big help to us,” said Baxter. “They collect food and the staff raises money that the company matches. They then go and make a healthy food donation with the money raised.”
While donations of goods have fallen, cash donations to Feed My Sheep appear to be on the rise.
“A lot of places have canceled their Christmas party this year,” said Rice. “Some of them have turned around and made cash donations to us.”
One thing that has been surprising this year is the demand.
“We have not had as many requests for food this year as I might have expected given the presence of COVID,” said Rice.
“You see those long lines that go around the block in the big cities and that has not been the case for us,” said Baxter.
That could change though, and both organizations are always happy to accept donations.
“We take canned goods, shelf-stable foods, soups,” said Rice. “Anyone that wants to donate can contact us at 812-254-5429 and leave a message.”
“Most of our donations are through our church but we always take other donations as well,” said Baxter, adding anyone wanting to give can contact the church at 812-254-2556. “We have some people who are really dedicated to making sure there is food available.”
Despite some tough times, organizers say they have managed to make it work this year.
“By God’s grace we have never run out of food,” said Rice.
“There have been times when we were down to next to nothing in the bank account, but the Lord always comes through,” said Baxter.
The First Baptist Church is also gearing up for a special Christmas box distribution for around 50 to 70 families who are served through CONNECTIONS.
The next Feed My Sheep distribution is planned for this Saturday from 9 a.m. till noon at the Feed My Sheep building on West Oak Street.