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Monday, May 27, 2024

Indy Community Pantry feeds hungry through community fridges

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Starting in 2020 with the spark to create a change, DeAndrea Rayner established the Indy Community Pantry with the hope to help people struggling with food insecurity in her area.

“I was just asking myself ‘what can I do to assist them?’,” said Rayner, who began her initiative by placing newspaper boxes full of food around the city.

After noticing how quickly the newspaper boxes seemed to empty, Rayner wondered what else could be done to get food into the hands of those who needed it.

To increase the food availability, Rayner started thinking bigger. With the help of the local community and volunteers, as well as generous donations, Rayner established three refrigerators across Indy to help food-insecure people find a meal.

DeAndrea Rayner with one of the Indy Community Pantry fridges (Photo/ DeAndrea Rayner)

Along with the five dry goods pantries, the refrigerators are take-and-leave, meaning you can take anything you’d like, and donations are free to be left if they are prepackaged and not expired.

While Rayner has been gaining traction on social media from her work in the community, she maintains that keeping the fridges stocked can be difficult.

“The food goes so fast. I can put it in there and it can be gone in an hour,” said Rayner.

If there are not enough donations, it’s up to Rayner to restock the community fridges and pantries. A task which, she explains, is difficult to do without the donations and support from the community.

“There’s not a lot of people doing stuff like this for us…There’s a lot of folks who could really use the food around here. Times are hard,” said David Gutierrez, a local who lives near a location of Indy Community Pantry on the Eastside.

While there may be some challenges to keeping up with the food stock, Rayner maintains that she will continue to support the people in the community because their stories inspire her to keep going.

“I draw inspiration from the community. The testimonials from the people keep me going,” said Rayner.

Aside from the current locations already in place, Rayner hopes to be able to put a free food fridge inside a school and to open her own free food grocery store one day. Both goals, as she says, could not be accomplished without volunteers and community support.

“It’s just me and my volunteers. I continue to ask for support from everyone,” said Rayner.

The fridges are located at:

  • Christ Missionary Baptist Church, 1001 Eugene St.
  • Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE), 8902 E. 38th St.
  • Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ, 3009 Forest Manor Ave.

The pantries can be found at:

  • 29th St. and Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • 27th St. and Harding St.
  • 10th St. and Denny St.  
  • The Lakes at Crossbridge Apartments at 38th & Franklin
  • Downtown under the bridge by The Slippery Noodle

For more information about volunteering or to donate to support the cause, visit indycommunitypantry.net or @indycommunitypantry on social media.Contact Staff Writer Hanna Rauworth at 317.762.7854 or follow her at @hanna.rauworth

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