INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indiana food bank is planning for future growth after receiving a $10 million grant.
Lilly Endowment Inc. announced plans Friday to provide Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana with $10 million in funds to continue its work serving food-insecure Hoosiers in 21 Indiana counties.
The grant comes as part of a $100 million Lilly Endowment initiative aimed to bolster the long-term goals of 15 Indiana organizations working to support low-income individuals and families.
Gleaners says it plans to set up a $9.5 million endowment that the food bank can draw on each year, while it will put $500,000 of the grant to work immediately, with plans to add three new jobs and upgrade technology to improve overall efficiency, with particular attention to reaching those in need in outlying counties.
“The number of food insecure Hoosiers remains unchanged since the 2008 recession. This is driven by continued high rates of poverty and underemployment,” said Gleaners President and CEO John Elliott. Gleaners estimates that over 300,000 people in the 21 counties they serve — and one out of every five children in Marion County alone — lack sufficient access to food.
Elliott is optimistic about the influx of money from Lilly Endowment. “They are providing the foundation upon which we will build a dramatic increase in food distribution for our hungry Hoosier neighbors,” said Elliott. While the grant will fund improvements in their long-term vision, Gleaners has emphasized that their yearly needs for support are increasing, rather than decreasing, with roughly $45 million per year in perishable and non-perishable food donations needed to maintain operations at their current level.
Those at Lilly Endowment Inc agree that organizations like Gleaners continue to need support from the community. “Unlike support for day-to-day operations, these funds will help each organization strengthen its financial infrastructure so it can serve more people over the long-term and weather unexpected financial challenges. These grants do not alleviate the need for the organizations to attract ongoing support for their efforts. Indeed, we hope the grants will help them more effectively attract support for their important work,” said Ace Yakey, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development.
Since Gleaners was founded in 1980 it has distributed over 436 million pounds of food and critical grocery products to over 230 hunger relief agencies serving needy Hoosiers.
You can learn more about Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana here.