SoSA’s new Indiana office is open and food distribution has begun. The first gleaning by the new region was held in February, netting 165 pounds of apples. In March, a volunteer group cut and tied 800 bags to be used at a crop drop The first grant to help support the work came from Kosciusko County in March. And SoSA Indiana has become a member of Indiana Grown (a grassroots movement to encourage Hoosiers to buy, sell, and share food and products made in Indiana). It’s been a very busy 3 months of making connections, learning, and experimenting!
SoSA has gleaned in the state in the past, but now will have a significantly larger impact on the fresh produce available to clients through food banks and food pantries across the Hoosier State. In the first year, SoSA expects to glean about one million pounds of produce from Indiana farm fields. All that food will be distributed by area food banks and food pantries to feed the state’s most vulnerable residents.
We opened the new Indiana office in January. It is directed by The Rev. Dawn Barnes, and housed at Abundant Harvest United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. In April, we will add a program coordinator who will work with the farmers, volunteers, and agencies to coordinate hundreds of events across the state during the year. In addition, the office will employ several seasonal gleaning coordinators in various parts of the state. These coordinators will go into the fields with the volunteers to pick the surplus crops.
More than 900,000 Indiana residents sometimes don’t know where their next meal will come from, and one-third of those residents are children. Through this gleaning and surplus food collection, Indiana farmers and volunteers will provide fresh and nutritious food to supplement their diets.