(UNDATED) - The Hoosier Hills Food Bank is expanding its Families First Mobile Food Pantry program to include Orleans and Shoals.
The expansion, made possible with grants from the Wal-Mart Foundation and the Orange County Commissioners Supporting Organization, will enable Orleans food distributions to take place the first Wednesday of each month, 4:30-6:30 p.m. - starting this Wednesday - at the Older Americans Services Corp., 1901 S. Orleans Way.
Food bank director of programs Casey Steury said the food bank is looking for a suitable location and partner in Shoals that will help the bank start a monthly food distribution there by March or April.
"We need a site that will allow us to set up multiple tables and accommodate between 50 and 100 people over the two-hour distribution period once each month," said Steury, adding that potential site partners can contact him at 334-8374.
Until it closed at the end of 2011, the Orleans Food Pantry received food from Hoosier Hills Food Bank, serving an average of 150 people per month.
"When the pantry closed, it placed a greater burden on our other partners in Orange County and it required people in Orleans who needed food to travel further, so we started looking for ways to distribute food in Orleans," said Hoosier Hills Food Bank executive director Julio Alonso.
Both new sites will operate similarly to the food bank's mobile pantries in Bedford and Mitchell, which serve an average of 271 households each month.
Alonso said in the near future, he expects the pantries to be eligible for USDA commodities. In order to receive USDA commodities, persons must be residents of Indiana and have incomes no greater than 165 percent of the federal poverty level for their household -- $1,497 per month for an individual; $3,073 a month for a family of four.
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