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Gleaners Food Bank Assistance

Indiana Wing assists Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana with fresh food distribution.

INDIANAPOLIS – Fifty volunteer members of the Indiana Wing Civil Air Patrol assisted Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana with their “Mega Fresh Mobile” food drive-through program at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 16th. The event focused on the distribution of fresh fruits, vegetables, and frozen meats to area residents.INWG volunteers pack vehicle with 40 lbs of food.

John Elliott, President/CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana explained the reasoning behind this large event, “Among the many challenges of responding to a pandemic, the ability to distribute fresh, perishable food has been among the most difficult. With many of our traditional partners either closed or reducing distributions, we have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen meats to share. As part of our strategic plan, we made a commitment to focus not just on the amount of food distributed but on the nutritional value of that food.”

Approximately ninety members participated from the Indiana National Guard and the Civil Air Patrol. Their contributions to the event allowed each family proceeding through the drive-through to receive forty pounds of fresh food and milk. In total, 20,000 pounds of food were distributed to 5,000 families throughout the day.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a growing problem with food insecurity – defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a “lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life” –affecting many communities across Indiana.

Before the pandemic about 12% of the state’s population were food insecure. The pandemic has exacerbated the problem and increased the need for food dramatically.

As a Total Force partner and the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, Civil Air Patrol is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to non-military threats domestically. In this situation members worked as a component of the U.S. Air Force in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity. Civil Air Patrol members function as an auxiliary of the Air Force to save lives, relieve suffering, and provide humanitarian assistance.

The Indiana Wing Civil Air Patrol has been working as an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force supporting food distribution services since April 15, 2020. To date, Indiana Wing members have volunteered nearly 300 volunteer man-days of time and prepared or helped distribute almost 800,000 meals.

“We’re grateful of the selfless service CAP volunteers provide as they go out into their local communities and serve others,” said Joe Sanders, deputy director of the National Security and Preparedness Center, First Air Force, Air Forces Northern, headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. “Our thoughts are with the people of Indiana during this time of great need.”

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