MILFORD — The Wawasee area hosted two food distributions on Wednesday, April 15, for those who need some assistance as the state continues to be shutdown due to the coronavirus.
In the midst of a mid-April snow squall, the first food distribution was held at Wawasee High School Wednesday morning. The distribution is part of a program initiated by the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and the Salvation Army.
Volunteer Terri Jarrette greeted those coming to pick up food with “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” as she recorded how many families and how many in each family were represented in each vehicle.
According to Ken Locke, administrator for the Salvation Army of Warsaw, the hope is to rotate food distribution throughout the various school corporation in Kosciusko County. The plan is to continue to distribute food, although for how long depends on a grant by the USDA.
“What we wanted to do is we didn’t want to stay in Warsaw, ” Locke explained. “We wanted to move around the county. Doing it through the school system is the fairest way.
“We appreciate Wawasee Schools, they have been great to work with,” Locke continued.
By 9:30 a.m. approximately 60 cars were lined up in the parking lot of Wawasee High School. Soon after, cars were lined up on both sides of the Syracuse -Webster Road as well coming up Chicago Street.
Chuck Russo was the first person in line having arrived at the school at 8 a.m. Locke said the plan was to distribute approximately 500 boxes. Each box weighed 31 pounds and was full of basic staples. Within 10 minutes of starting to hand out food, the first pallet of boxes was gone.
“Pretty much vegetables, cereal, canned meat, nothing perishable,” Locke said. He added there may be fresh produce available at some point.
There is one stipulation with the food distribution’s the Salvation Army is doing with the Northern Indiana Food Pantry, according to Locke, government regulations require a representative of each household in the vehicle in order to get a box of food.
Assisting Locke were two volunteers from the Indiana National Guard and volunteers from Vineyard Church in Syracuse.
One lady in line said she was picking up a box for her granddaughter who didn’t have a car. Another said she appreciated the help because her hours had been cut way back before the pandemic caused the state to shut down.
One gentleman, seeing just the pallets that had been unloaded, asked if there was enough for everyone. “I hate to take it if someone needs it more,” he told Locke. Locke reassured him there was plenty to go around.
Later in the day, volunteers at Milford Food Bank were busy as they packed up 200 boxes for those needing food assistance. This was the first food distribution the food bank hosted. The plan is to offer food distribution from 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays until it’s not needed.
This food distribution is not government funded, instead it’s done through private donations.
Drivers stopped at two stations to pick up a bag of apples, a case of sparkling water, a bag of oranges, a box of potatoes, a box of meat and a box of non-perishable food.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” said one lady as she waited her turn to pick up food. “You know how it is to live on social security,” said her friend.
Another came out to pick up food for an elderly neighbor.