Gleaners Striving to Fill Growing Need For Food

By Christopher Mendoza

Gleaners serves 100,000 people every day in Marion County and distributes 45 million pounds of food in a normal year. However, since the pandemic has started, this number has doubled or tripled to 72.9 million meals so far in 2020, and is planning to increase the more we go on into the year. Not only does Gleaners give food to the community, but also provides meals to more than 200,000 children a year.

Free Meals

The IPS Food Service and Gleaners meal distribution has resumed its regular weekly schedule, providing meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays for students and families. Check out

Free IPS and Gleaners Meals for times and locations.

Gleaners food bank is located at 3737 Waldemere Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46241. Gleaners is closed on Mondays and Friday, but Tuesdays and Wednesdays are open from 10 AM to 3 PM. On Thursday Gleaners opens from 2 PM to 7 PM, and Saturdays are open from 9 AM to noon. 

To get food from Gleaners you have to drive to Gleaners food bank and wait in a line of cars until they get to your car. There will be policemen giving directions to avoid confusion. When the volunteers get to you they will ask you how many households you need. Then the volunteers would give you the food for how many households you need. There have been times when there are many people waiting in line, so they have to go out in the streets and wait there.

Gleaners has sent out a message to everyone that they have to limit the times they go per week to once a week. People have ignored this statement and go mostly every day, and Gleaners is running low on food. 

How Indianapolis Can Help, and Has Helped

There are two ways to help Gleaners during this time. First, you can volunteer there and distribute food, and second, you can donate money. For every dollar you donate Gleaners is able to buy nine dollars in groceries to give. Jonathan is a volunteer at Gleaners, he said, “Gleaners needs sixty volunteers to operate without trouble, and that they split them into two 30 person shifts, during its Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday distribution days. 

To become a volunteer first you have to go to the Gleaners site and sign up. Then you fill out the questions that are asked to complete your profile then choose the shift you want to volunteer on. Kids are also allowed to volunteer with the permission of their guardians. About 4 months ago, Gleaners needed many volunteers and the U.S. Army had to come to help them distribute food for some months while they got some volunteers. If you ever plan to volunteer or donate go to their website and learn more about it. 

 Not only people help, but companies big and small around Indiana help Gleaners. Icis Eynon, a worker at Gleaners, said “ We get many chicken products, mostly ground chicken and chicken sauces from many chicken companies, and this month we are getting freshly baked bread delivered from Panera Bread sometime this month.” Stores like Kroger, Texas RoadHouse, and Cliff Bar help Gleaners a lot. Whatever is unsold at these companies they will donate to Gleaners. Not only do they give food, but sometimes they provide personal hygiene products and detergent. There is not a money limit they need to serve food. They serve what they have in the food bank they have. 

The reason Gleaners gives food to the community is that they want to help people in situations they never imagined themselves they will be in. During these horrific times, many people have lost their jobs, but they still have to feed their families. That’s why Gleaners is here to help families in need. If you are ever in need of food go to Gleaners and they will supply you with fresh food they purchase, healthy food, and nutritious food.

Go to https://www.gleaners.org/ for more information.