East side church helping to feed the hungry at food pantries

East side church helping to feed the hungry at food pantries. (WISH Photo/Joe Melillo)
East side church helping to feed the hungry at food pantries. (WISH Photo/Joe Melillo)

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WISH) – A Church on the east side of Indianapolis has made it a goal to help feed the hungry at food pantries in its area, but what sparked this effort was a growing and troubling trend throughout the city.

St Alban’s Episcopal Church leaders said the murder rates have driven them to make a difference, and their first act is coming right from a garden.

Nestled on a former baseball field on the east side, St. Alban’s garden has already produced more than 5,000 pounds of food with more on the way. Potatoes, tomatoes, melons, carrots, broccoli, peas, cabbage, lettuce, and onions have all been produced and donated.

“We have people coming everyday asking what’s going on can I have something how can I help,” said Debbie Dehler, the Priest in charge of the church. “I hope that the people who are receiving the food we are growing here, will know that love and know that we are doing this because we love our community and we want to embrace everyone.”

What might not be immediately apparent to someone passing by are the white crosses scattered throughout the property.

It wouldn’t be uncommon to have crosses in a church garden but there’s another message here. Each cross represents a murder victim killed in Indianapolis in 2015. There are 86.

“That’s where it gets sad and it’s sobering to understand that the level of violence that could happen in the community,” said Dehler.

The numbers for 2016 is already outpacing last year.

In addition, the food the church makes heads out whenever its ripe and ready to go to places like The Cupboard. It’s a food pantry serving about 1,200 families a month.

Molly Mattocks the manager for The Cupboard said she loves when St. Alban’s stops by.

“One of the things we want to be able to offer is fresh produce because it’s really hard for them, to get,” she said.

In the end, the leaders at St Alban’s Episcopal Church want a simple message to come through, “Life is the most precious thing in the world.”

They hope through their good deeds the message will be widespread.

“We believe in abundance that god provides,” said Dehler. “He gives us so much to be thankful for and life is one of those things.”

St Albans is looking for volunteers to help keep the garden going. And as always, the food pantries are always looking for fresh produce.

So if you would like to help, email or call St. Albans Episcopal Church.

  • Email: rector@st-albans.org
  • Call: 317.546.8037
  • Address: 4601 N. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis, IN  46226

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