After an extensive year-long remodeling project, SVdP’s Boulevard Place Food Pantry will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Friday, Aug. 6, beginning at 10 a.m. The food pantry has been in its current location at 4202 Boulevard Place since 2012 and is considered one of Indianapolis’ larger client-choice food pantries and a critical component in addressing food insecurity.
Prior to the pandemic, pantry conditions were often cramped for shoppers—many experienced long wait times outside—and volunteers regularly sorted pallets and totes in the parking lot. Now, the 2,300-square-foot facility has expanded its under-roof footprint by approximately 1,500 feet in hopes of accommodating as many as 300 shoppers weekly.
The addition includes a new food storage area with a larger walk-in freezer and refrigeration units and an expanded client waiting space with digital signage to highlight nutrition education to guests. Energy-saving features were also added, including solar panel installation on the roof, argon-gas windows and an insulated garage door. Updates to electrical and sewer systems were made as well as reinforcements to the roof. The beautifully painted and updated outside of the building has an interactive raised-bed garden that guests can enjoy when they visit.
The remodeling and expansion is being funded privately by Marian, Inc., along with generous personal donations from members of the Witchger family in addition to other donations from parishioners of many local churches.
Grand Opening: What You Need to Know
- When: Friday, Aug. 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Where: 4202 Boulevard Place
- Ribbon-cutting and remarks: 10:15 – 10:45 a.m.
- Tours and interviews: Following ribbon-cutting
- Several special guests
- Who’s invited: Open to the community
- Parking: Available at the pantry and on West 42nd
- Questions: Tom Spalding (pantry consultant) at 317-656-7644
For more 30 years, the pantry served clients in the lower level of the St. Thomas Aquinas parish center (46th and Illinois) before moving to its current location in 2012. The pantry is a Special Work of St. Vincent DePaul but is autonomous financially. Its mission has always been to serve the emergency food needs of people located within the boundaries of five parishes: Christ the King, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Joan of Arc, St. Luke and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Non-denominational in its outreach, the pantry is operated almost entirely by volunteers. Approximately 120 adults stock the shelves, assist clients, off-load deliveries, and clean and maintain the property. In 2018, more than 387,000 pounds of food were distributed and 489,000 pounds in 2019—all stretching the food storage space to the limits.
New Partnership Resulting from Pandemic
As our senior population wisely stays at home to reduce exposure risk during the pandemic, we have served as a source of nutrition and food assistance. Every other Friday, we assist 40 elderly and/or disabled individuals living in the Emma O. Johnson Homes, a senior community near Watkins Park. The pantry prepares and provides bags of food, produce, meat, etc. The food is picked up from the pantry via 9/13 Sports in collaboration with Near NorthWest Communities—a true example of the collaboration and cooperation involved in loving our neighbors.
Other Pantry Partnerships
We are grateful for food and support provided by the following organizations:
- Second Helpings
- SHarP Community Garden
- Fairview Presbyterian Church
- Common Ground Christian Church
- St. Vincent de Paul Archdiocesan Conferences
- Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis
- Meridian Street United Methodist Church
- Broad Ripple Farmers Market
- Parish and community donors
Additionally, the pantry has partnered with the Marion County Health Department and the Purdue Extension of Marion County to provide clients with nutrition education. The pantry’s efforts in this area are ongoing.