My first thought after reading of the first school closure in Indiana due to the worldwide pandemic was of the thousands of children and young adults that rely on their school corporation for their daily nutrition and food intake due to food insecurities. In Marion County alone, over 40,000 children will be out of school for over thirty days. Where will they go? What would they eat? My second thought was a picture of us crowding aisles and depleting the shelves of all our superstores and local grocery stores of multiple items because we are privileged to do so. We have the funds to be able to buy for weeks at a time. There are thousands of people in our community and surrounding counties that are living day by day. Closing schools will directly affect our most vulnerable populations.
Now is the time to give and give freely. Now is the time to love our neighbor. Now is the time to say there is no such thing as other people’s children – because to get through this pandemic together, we need to work together for the common good. And we must do it now.
With the help of friends, colleagues, and community postings, I have compiled a list of free meal services and pantries available to our school children through adults in Marion and Hamilton County and ways you can donate or volunteer:
Where can I find free meals for my children?
- Indianapolis Public Schools are providing any child under the age of 18 – regardless if they are an IPS enrolled student- pre-packed meals which have started distribution at seven different school locations. The IPS Food Bus also distributed meals directly to multiple apartment complexes. The corporation’s website says that “Additional days, times and locations for future meal service will be available soon.” Information may be found at www.myips.org
- Carmel Clay Schools will provide all school-aged children with supplemental food during the closure. You must complete the online Supplemental Food Request Form. Please submit the form no later than Monday, March 16. Food pick up will be on Wednesday, March 18, Carmel High School #9 Door, from 10 am-2:pm. Families are asked to remain in their vehicles in the carpool line, and all food packs will be delivered directly to you. If you are needing additional resources please contact your school’s social worker or counselor. More information can be found at www.ccs.k12.in.us
- MSD of Warren Township is offering free grab-and-go sack lunches March 16th – 20th, for all MSD Warren students and available for pick up at Warren Central High School, door 1, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. More information can be found at www.warren.k12.in.us
- Lawrence Township Schools will be providing a five day supply of Grab and Go breakfasts and lunches that will be available between 11 am – 1 pm on Monday, March 16 & Monday March 23 at the following sites: Brook Park Elementary, Harrison Hill Elementary, Indian Creek Elementary, Fall Creek Valley Middle School, and Lawrence North High School. Community sites include Churchill, Maison Gardens, and Postbrook. More information can be found at www.ltschools.org
- Hamilton Southeastern Schools will be distributing three weeks of food that will consist of breakfast and lunch in a grab and go carline of the parking lots in three HSE schools. Families will not need to get out of the car. Meals will be available on Monday, March 16, from 1 pm – 4 pm at Fisher’s High School Door #19, Hamilton Southeastern High School Door #18, and Durbin Elementary School at the main entrance. If you have any additional questions, email Andria Ray at [email protected]
- Noblesville Schools will be providing food supplements for all students. Families must complete this online form found here Meal Pack Request Form and pick up will be on Monday, March 16, from 12 pm – 2 pm at Noblesville High School, Promise Road Elementary, and Hinkle Creek Elementary.
- MSD of Washington Township Schools Meal packets will contain eight days of breakfast and lunch supplies. The distribution will be held at every WT school through curb service pick-up due to social distancing recommendations on Wednesday, March 18, from 9:00 – 11:00 am and 5:00 – 7:00 pm. If you are unable to pick-up meals during the times above on March 18, please complete our Meal Assistance During School Closure Form. A staff member from the MSDWT Child Nutrition team will follow-up with you within 24 hours. More information at https://www.msdwt.k12.in.us/2020/03/health-concerns/
Where can I donate items or volunteer to assemble meal packages?
- Fueled for School – If you want to donate food to support Fueled for School meal packs you can drop off donations at the All Local downtown on the square in Noblesville or outside the front door at the Educational Services Center (18025 River Rd) from 7:00 am – 3:00 pm each business day OR you can volunteer to assemble or deliver meal packs! Sign up here: https://www.fueledforschool.org/volunteer. High need items are:
- Peanut butter in plastic jars
- Instant oatmeal packs
- Fruit cups or canned fruits
- Canned pasta sauce
- Canned soup or ravioli
- No Questions Asked Food Pantry is located at All Souls Unitarian Church in Indianapolis and serves the food insecure population of the eastside of Indianapolis. They are in GREAT need of items, funds, and volunteers this coming Sunday, Monday, and Thursday to make meal packets. If you would like to send funds, you can send money via PayPal to [email protected], or you can buy items off their wishlist! Items will be delivered to the church directly. Wishlist: Amazon wishlist https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3TVBVG9EQAQDP OR sign up here to volunteer!. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050D4BA4A62BA5FF2-volunteer
- Here are additional food pantries that need assistance for our most vulnerable.
- https://www.faybiccardglickcenter.org/food-pantry (Tuesdays 12:30–5 pm)
- https://www.lovelwcc.org/ministries/food-pantry/ (Mondays 6p-8p)
- https://www.jewishindianapolis.org/jfs/popsies-pantry (By appt only)
- https://www.secondchurch.org/foodpantry (open Tu, W, Th, Sat)
- https://www.ccfpindy.org/ (open W-F and one Sat monthly)
- http://www.northsideindy.org/local.html (Tuesday 4–6:30 pm)
Listen, we are moms. We get things done, but there are many of us that the burden of taking off work due to school closures will be overwhelming. If that is you, remember this: 1) You are valued, 2) There is empowerment in allowing others to assist you in times of need, and 3) We are with you.
Let’s take care of each other.