CFMC and Purdue Extension partnered together to discuss more useful ways to distribute food resources. Many Morgan County food pantries lack spacious refrigeration, enough volunteers during open service hours and have braved many other challenges through the last few years’ pandemic. This coalition, named Morgan County Food Pantry Coalition, meets monthly and welcomes all food pantries within Morgan County. The goal of this coalition is to join forces county wide to ensure all needs are met for food pantries no matter the size, or hours of operation.
The early stages of this coalition involved discovering which pantries work with Midwest Food Bank or Gleaners. Shortly thereafter, a Gleaners’ food pantry representative attended our meeting and since, the coalition has been able to better source food products, share storage and refrigeration resources, and share available grant dollars. Gleaners helps local food pantries with grants for building improvements/repairs, refrigeration, and technology to pass safety regulations which then qualifies these pantries for free Gleaners’ food access benefits.
As a part of this collaboration, funders such as CFMC are also aligned so that foundation grants can then be allocated in other areas and be better stewarded in directions that are not financially sourced. We call this “breaking down silos and being better communicators within the county”.
Charity Tracker was also presented by Susan Haynes, Executive Director, at Churches in Mission in September. Charity Tracker is a client database that lessens duplication of efforts for pantries. This service is free to all food pantries and allows tracking assistance given to families. The system doesn’t work as a “yes or no” we will provide you service, it aligns assistance given to avoid duplication and then disburse excess donations to those pantries who must turn away clients. As we approach the holidays, patrons wishing to obtain Christmas Assistance give information to multiple organizations, many times being served with Christmas dinner and presents multiple times, while other families in need go without. This coalition formed by CFMC and Purdue Extension is empowering food pantries across the county to reallocate abundances to other pantries.
Indy Hunger Network also visited the coalition to provide information on a food resource app. The app first included only Marion County resources, yet by year end all donut counties including Morgan will have access to local information. he resources list show where hot meals are served, food pantries are located, and hours of operation. This app also lists WIC and SNAP locations and application assistance. To find this info visit: www.communitycompass.app or download the app, Community Compass by Indy Hunger Network.
Collaboration proves good stewardship, best practices shared, and available assistance. The next meeting is scheduled November 15, 11 AM – Noon, in-person at CFMC’s office (56 N. Main Street) or via Zoom, hosted by Erin Slevin, Community Wellness Coordinator, Purdue Extension Office. If you’d like to join November’s meeting feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.