Local nonprofit organizations, helping vulnerable Indiana families, could use some help themselves this summer.
INDIANAPOLIS — Wheeler Mission and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana are taking care of many more people during the heat of the summer, despite inflation costs.
Wheeler Mission Center for Women and Children always anticipates more guests in the extreme heat or extreme cold. When 13News visited, only two rooms were available out of 30.
“Six people have already called today for family shelter. So I, at this point, do not have enough rooms to help the guests that are already calling,” said Bethany LaRocco, director of family services at Wheeler Mission Center for Women and Children.
Some calls are from people living in their vehicle, realizing it was no longer a safe idea in the heat.
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With kids out of school, more families will need help.
“Sometime that puts a strain on a family that maybe already has a lot of family members living in the home, and so they find themselves needing shelter as well,” LaRocco said. “So, these are things that we can predict and project and be prepared for. I don’t think anybody was prepared for the heat that we hit this summer. I think we’re just trying to take it day by day and trying to make sure everyone has water, and we offer shelter to as many people as we can at this point in time.”
Thanks to daily donations, inflation has not affected the nonprofit.
However, inflation prices are creating long lines for families at Gleaners Food Bank in the 21 counties they serve each day. Gleaners has seen a 40% increase in costs related to food prices, fuel and utilities. It has multiple semis delivering meals to those food banks.
“When you’re spending over $100,000 to fill a fuel tank here per fill-up, that’s 800,000 meals. Every dollar of expense here is eight meals we can’t provide,” said John Elliott, president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank.
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At the height of the pandemic, the number of families coming through Gleaners increased by 137%. Now, more recently, it is helping to fill the gap that was created by federal food subsidies and school meal programs ending.
Water is currently Wheeler Mission’s big need. Additionally, meat has been the constant problem for Gleaners. For the first time, it hasn’t received any poultry donations at all.
To donate money to Gleaners Food Bank, click here. To give to Wheeler Mission, click here.
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