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An extensive list of resources for securing food this season

Last Modified: 12/10/2020

Food Insecurity

This post was written by Michelle Bojrab-Wray, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, community outreach dietitian.

Research has shown that securing food can improve the health and well-being of an individual. When times are hard, as many are experiencing during this COVID-19 pandemic, access to healthy food can be challenging, but our community has many resources to help.

Federal and state resources  

SNAP

With SNAP, you get an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. You use it like a debit card to buy food at the grocery store. SNAP puts benefits on this card once a month. SNAP is for people and families with low incomes. Anyone can apply. The amount you receive depends on your income, expenses and your family size. If you qualify, you get SNAP benefits within 30 days after you apply. If you have little or no money, please let your SNAP worker know. You might be able to get help sooner.

Call 2-1-1 or 1-866-211-9966 for an eligibility screening and information on how to apply.

WIC

The WIC Program aims to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating and referrals to health care. Clients are referred to other programs that may be beneficial like Medicaid, Healthy Families, smoking cessation, doctors, etc. Clients set an appointment and bring proof of ID, address and income to determine their eligibility. Every client meets with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) or registered nurse (RN) to establish their nutritional need and for one-on-one educational counseling. Applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements in categorical, residential, income and nutrition risk.

Indiana WIC offers a variety of foods. The average food package value is $37.26 per month. WIC EBT card can be used at local grocery stores for cereal, milk, juice, cheese, peanut butter, formula, vegetables, eggs, fruits and whole grains.

The RDN or RN will build a supplemental food package for each client and issue food benefits that are redeemed at WIC-approved stores throughout Indiana using a WIC EBT card or vouchers for their famers market program. Clients return about every 3 months for nutrition education and food benefit issuance, but a certification typically lasts a year.

You might be able to get WIC even if you don’t qualify for SNAP. Call 1-260-458-2641 Ext. 2 to schedule your appointment.

School Meal Programs

The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals to children each school day. Additional School Meal Programs include the Special Milk Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and Summer Food Service Program.

Families with children in grade school through high school can apply. If you get SNAP, your child will get free or lower price school breakfasts and lunch. You may still qualify if you do not receive SNAP. To learn more, ask someone at the office of your child’s school what meal programs they offer and how to apply.

Local resources

Community Harvest Food Bank

999 East Tillman Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46816
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
260-447-3696

Crisis Assistance Program provides a ten-pound bag of shelf-stable food on a walk-in basis to those in need of emergency food assistance. The Crisis Assistance emergency food bag is not an ongoing resource, but is given for temporary and immediate hunger relief until you access other available programs. Participants will need to show a photo ID or driver’s license. If your current address is not the same as shown on your identification, please bring a document that shows your correct name and address, such as a utility bill or lease.

Saturday Morning Helping Hands occurs every Saturday from 9-11 a.m. at 999 East Tillman Road, Fort Wayne. A few basic questions are asked for demographic purposes only (example: number in household, zip code) upon check-in. Participants must provide their own containers for the food (example: box, laundry basket, wagon, cart, etc.). Fresh produce, dairy and baked goods are given to all in need of food assistance.

The Farm Wagon Mobile Pantry delivers fresh produce and dairy products to low-income rural and city neighborhoods where people may not have access to that quality of nutritious food. The Farm Wagon visits sites in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley counties. Any adult in need may attend a scheduled Farm Wagon. No ID is required. Participants must bring their own containers for the food. See the most current schedule here.

Member Food Pantries – A Food Pantry gets food from food banks and other sources and distributes it directly to clients in need. You can find the food pantry nearest you here.

The Kids BackPack Program distributes backpacks on a year-round basis to recipients and extra food for younger siblings. The backpacks are filled with meals that children take home on weekends. The backpacks are discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend. For more information, call 260-449-9713.

SeniorPak Program ensures that homebound older adults over 60 years of age living on limited incomes have help with their food needs. This program provides a 20-pound bag of groceries every two weeks to supplement their food budget. For more information about the SeniorPak Program, call 260-447-3696 Ext. 319.

Hope for Heroes Program helps veterans and military families going through transitions such as deployment, release from duty, underemployment and homeless veterans transitioning into housing. For those eligible, the Community Cupboard pantry at Community Harvest Food Bank will provide six months of groceries. Each month, veterans will choose 100 pounds of nutritious foods while they get back on their feet and regain stability. Community Harvest is proud to serve our heroes and has partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other organizations that will refer veterans and military families in need of assistance.

Community Cupboard allows member agencies to directly refer clients to a grocery store-style environment for food assistance. Those referred clients can shop for everything their family needs including fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, canned food, cereal, spices, flour, sugar, dairy products, cleaning supplies, paper goods, personal hygiene products and more. Clients shop by weight allowances determined by the referring agency.

Other resources

The Pantry at Purdue Fort Wayne

2101 E Coliseum Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Hours: Walb Union, Room G42, (Thursday: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.); Student Housing Clubhouse (Monday–Friday: noon–2 p.m.)

The Pantry is for food-insecure members of both the university and the community. 

The Neighborhood Food Network (Associated Churches)

The Neighborhood Food Network is a program that offers families food once a month at no charge through a network of 25 food pantries in Fort Wayne and Allen County. A community food pantry’s mission is to directly serve residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a specific area. The map of locations can be accessed here.

Families must go to the Food Pantry in the neighborhood they reside. Please check the website for hours of operation for each specific pantry. The Food Pantry provides a five-day supply of food to prepare balanced and nutritious meals as recommended by the Department of Agriculture nutrition food chart.

Identification is required to prove place of residence. You must have two forms of identification. Identification must have name and address (a utility bill, phone bill or lease). This identification should be dated within the last 90 days. You must also have a picture ID (driver's license, state picture ID, or school or college ID).

Community Meals

The Rescue Mission

301 W. Superior St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website

Daily free meals to the public:
•Breakfast at 7 a.m.
•Lunch at noon
•Dinner at 5 p.m.

Saint Mary’s Soup Kitchen

1101 South Lafayette St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website

Meals to the public:
•Monday through Friday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
•Saturday: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.                                                                                   
•Sunday: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.   

Saint Andrew’s Soup Kitchen

2714 New Haven Ave., Fort Wayne IN 46803

Meals to the public:
•Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Mobile Food Pantries

Community Harvest Food Bank Farm Wagon

Families are eligible to receive food from Farm Wagon mobile pantries that visit their county of residence. These services are available in all nine counties of northeast Indiana, including Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley. Common items given include milk, yogurt, salad greens, onions, potatoes, apples, and other fruits and vegetables.

Please arrive 10-15 minutes early and bring a bag or box to carry your food distribution. You do not need to show identification, but for records, they do ask for zip code and family size.

There will be no Farm Wagon Deliveries CHFB if outdoor conditions are dangerously cold.

Wellspring on Wheels (WOW)

Each week WOW is at a different location. Anyone can come to any and all locations. No ID or mail required. WOW is currently working to add new temporary sites during the COVID-19 pandemic, so watch their Facebook page for updates.

 

*Times/dates may vary due to COVID-19. Please check with the specific program before accessing.

**There may be additional resources available to your family for those who are disabled, veterans and/or individuals over the age of 60. Please call 2-1-1 for additional information.

 

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