Reps. Lehe, VanNatter: Don't go hungry, turn to Indiana's Operation Food for help

Posted by: Josh DeFonce  | Thursday, June 11, 2020 1:12 am

STATEHOUSE (June 11, 2020) – State Reps. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) and Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) 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. Lehe 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.   

"Many Hoosiers have lost their job or had their hours cut during this pandemic," Lehe said. "Because of this, more people are visiting food banks to help feed their families. Indiana's Operation Food program is assisting those in need across the state to find local food resources and help get them what they need."

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, VanNatter 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. 

"While COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on some Hoosiers' lives, many more have stepped up to help some of our state's most vulnerable populations by donating supplies and volunteering in food pantries," VanNatter said. "This online tool can help connect those who need assistance to much-needed resources."  

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. You can also find details 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.

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State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) represents House District 25, which
includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties.
Click 
here for a high-resolution photo. 

State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) represents House District 38,
which includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Howard and Clinton counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.