(STATEHOUSE) – State Reps. Chris May (R-Bedford) and Steve Davisson (R-Salem) encourage Hoosiers who may be struggling to make ends meet and needing food assistance to turn to the state’s recently launched Operation Food program for help.
Indiana’s community kitchens, pantries and food banks saw a 154% increase in visits since the onset of COVID-19, according to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. May said throughout the public health crisis and during the state’s ongoing recovery, many families need access to food and local programs are trying to keep up with the demand.
“There’s been a spike in the number of residents needing food during this difficult time,” May said. “We have tremendous programs locally and throughout Indiana addressing this need, and Operation Food is an easy tool to find locations closest to home.”
Indiana’s food distribution network is made up of 12 food banks, and nearly 1,750 pantries and community kitchens. To help pool resources and meet the need, Davisson said FSSA’s Operation Food connects the network to hunger relief organizations, like Indy Hunger Network and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, along with the Indiana State Health Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
“This public health crisis has put a bigger strain on many Hoosiers who were already struggling to make ends meet, especially our elderly population,” Davisson said. “Operation Food is a great resource to help connect individuals and families to local food sources during this challenging time.”
Hoosiers can visit in.gov/fssa and click on “Food Assistance Availability Map” to find help nearby. The map includes pantries, meal sites with packed food ready to take home and eat, and school sites feeding students throughout the summer. Information is also provided on how to make a donation to local food banks as Indiana continues to recover from the health crisis.
Hoosiers can also call 211 to connect to additional resources and programs, including help with housing, utilities, and summer food service options for children.