Area food bank looking for volunteers as the holiday season approaches
Volunteers are vital to the survival of many charitable organizations. Without people willing to offer their time and expertise free of charge, many nonprofits would find it difficult, if not impossible, to meet their missions.
COVID-19 has changed many aspects of life as the world knew it, and that includes volunteering. Social distancing measures and stay-at-home mandates from state and local governments discouraged people from leaving their homes, while various health organizations warned aging men and women to stay home as much as possible.
Indiana is cautiously opening back up, but some of our local businesses and organizations have stepped up and are continuing to put in extra time and effort to fill the growing needs of area families. The Ripley County Food Bank in Osgood is one such organization. They served 170 families during their first giveaway this month on the second, according to Bill and Brenda Warren, who have worked to provide the area with groceries and meals for over 20 years.
According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap, there are 887,070 people in Indiana who regularly struggle with food insecurity – 273,380 of which are children. More than ever, families are struggling to buy groceries. Food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens work to protect the most vulnerable and under-served in our communities. These agencies continue to face increased demand during these uncertain times.
“We always need volunteers,” said Bill. “Right now, we’re looking for a couple of permanent helpers – good people that are friendly and can follow instructions.”
The county food bank has, like many businesses, switched to a drive-thru model. Bill explained that the cars line up at the Ripley County Fairgrounds and open their trunks for volunteers to fill. “We are truly blessed, we really are,” said Bill while talking about the community support the food bank receives. “We try to give it back to the customers, that’s who they intend it for.” Just last week he went to pick up a $300 donation from a business in Osgood and he said they told him they plan to have another check for him around Christmas. Cash donations like this give the local organization the ability to purchase their goods to make sure they can have what their customers want and need. They buy some of their stock from Gleaners in Indianapolis, but also spend money locally at Versailles IGA.
The Ripley County Food Pantry is open for giveaways the first Monday of each month from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and on the third Monday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Volunteers are welcome during those times and on stock days, which are normally the second and fourth Friday of each month. Volunteers need to be at least 16 years old and be able to lift 30 pounds. Contact Bill or Brenda at 812-756-2560 to learn more about volunteering at or donating to the Ripley County Food Pantry.