By Jackson Eflin, Marketing Coordinator
“It is the mission of Helping Hands Food Pantry to live generously,” says Phil Sveum. Phil was a founding member back in 2005, when six people saw the need of their community and came together to do something about it. Since then, St. John’s Lutheran Church – Helping Hands Food Pantry has become one of the largest pantries in Second Harvest Food Bank’s service area, and as of the first week of November 2020, they had passed out 6 million pounds of food over fifteen years.
The Pantry regularly serves 6,325 families in a year, or around 22,150 individuals, around one in four of whom are first-time recipients. This year has been particularly difficult – the number of clients continues to grow, but volunteer numbers have decreased, as many were elderly or otherwise at increased risk. The lack of person-to-person interaction has also taken a toll. “[the contact free tailgate style distribution] is a struggle for the volunteers, who really enjoyed the interactions and relationships that they had developed over the years. They miss the smiles, the hugs, and the kind words they shared with the clients.”
Many volunteers at Helping Hands started as someone in need. Once they had the help to get back on their feet after an unexpected expense or a temporary layoff, they turned right back around to help the next person. That’s the sort of community that we can build when we work together.
Second Harvest is proud to support Helping Hands Food Pantry, as well as our other 100+ agency partners throughout East Central Indiana. If you’d like to help us do so, you can visit our website to volunteer or donate, or to find resource providers near you.