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Hoosier Hills Food Bank Partners With Pantry 279 For Thanksgiving Food Distribution

A photo of fresh produce at Pantry 279.

Chavez said she expects the Thanksgiving box distribution to feed 12,000 to 14,000 people this Thanksgiving. (Ethan Burks, WFIU/WTIU News)

Local food pantries are preparing for cold weather and the holidays as they continue to face record-high need, fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Director of Pantry 279 Cindy Chavez said the lack of continued COVID-19 relief from the government has created more need in the community than ever before.

“September has actually been our largest month ever. We had 6,015 people come that we fed,” Chavez said.

Hoosier Hills Food Bank Executive Director and CEO Julio Alonso said in a media release he doesn’t see need abating anytime soon. That’s why the two organizations have joined forces for Pantry 279’s annual Thanksgiving box distribution.

According to the release, HHFB will provide staple food items and host distribution on site while sharing responsibility for packing boxes with volunteers —which both organizations need more of after Pantry 279 lost its National Guard assistants.

Chavez said she expects the program to feed 12,000 to 14,000 people this Thanksgiving with double the usual number of deliveries.

Both food distributors are accepting donations and volunteers. Financial donations allow the foodbanks to buy bulk items not available due to purchasing limits in stores. Alonso encourages community members to host food drives because COVID-19 cancelled so many of them over the summer.

“We feel confident based on what we’ve seen in terms of support that we’re going to be able to keep meeting the need,” Alonso said. “And we’re determined to do that.”

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