At the Boulevard Place Food Pantry, we embrace a mindset that we are here to serve the emergency food needs of those who need it. In 2021, we not only expanded the pantry at 4202 N. Boulevard Place, but we made it vibrant-looking with a distinct blue-and-persimmon color scheme that can’t be missed. We also increased the frequency of posts on social media to update our “fans” so they can see how we live out our mission. Find us on Facebook if you haven’t already.
While many people know about the food pantry, a special work of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, we also discovered that many people are finding out about us for the first time. Sometimes that awareness occurs when a new family joins one of the five parishes that support us through regular tithes, or a student begins their educational journey at one of their parochial schools and the student gets word about participating in a food collection drive to support us.
And sometimes attention comes from the media! We are still beaming about the press attention that occurred from our grand reopening on Aug. 6! It was covered by WTHR-TV (Channel 13) and by CBS4 and Fox59. And a new wave of attention came courtesy of WXIN-TV (Fox59). They wanted our help to tell the story of the Indy Hunger Network’s Community Compass, a smart-device app that lets a hungry person search for food pantries on their mobile phone. Of course, Boulevard Place is on this app. While being filmed, Pantry Director Cindy Brown provided a tutorial to reporter Courtney Crown on how to access and use the app. Boulevard Place got a nice mention on TV and also the web, which means anyone doing an internet search for Boulevard Place will find the article from Oct. 14.
Although it was not a mainstream publication, we are always interested in assisting faith-based media. That occurred with Parish Neighbors of Northside Indy, which put us on the cover for their October 2021 edition. The print-only article is mailed to parishioners of Christ the King, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Luke the Evangelist and St. Pius X—plus their respective schools. Reporter Elisabeth Speckman’s two-page article had a spot-on headline: “Boulevard Place Food Pantry: Feeding the Hungry” and the piece detailed how we grew and transformed. Additionally, publisher Lori Wheeler wrote a nice summary of the purpose of the renovation.
“As many of you know, Boulevard Place just completed a well-deserved renovation as they celebrate their upcoming 40th anniversary in 2022. Expanding its footprint by 1,500 square feet has enabled the pantry to not only serve more clients but also to receive more donations. Green is present throughout the newly remodeled building. Specifically, the presence of green welcomes clients as they enter the front door and is featured on the bags each client receives, confirming that they are welcome and that the volunteers are happy to serve them. We hope you enjoy our feature story this month and consider making Boulevard Place a part of your tradition this fall, whether in prayer, in the donation of food, or in volunteering your time.”
In its coverage, Parish Neighbors was kind enough to include our e-donation button: Bit.ly/givetoBlvd
In the third notable media mention, Cindy was interviewed by John Shaughnessy of The Criterion. The Criterion is the official weekly newspaper for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The newspaper’s focus is on religion and has a circulation/audience of approximately 67,000. The Oct. 22, 2021, article included a photo of Cindy in the warehouse area with this caption: “As the director of the Boulevard Place St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, Cindy Brown is all smiles about the improvements that were part of the recent physical transformation of the pantry building—improvements that have created a quicker, more comfortable shopping experience for people in need (Photo by John Shaughnessy).”
In addition, there was a fantastic paragraph in the article written by John that really summed up all the efforts.
For nearly 40 years, that desire to “be here” for people in need has been the driving force of this food pantry. It’s also been the driving force of the recent stunning physical transformation of the pantry building that was unveiled in early August—a transformation three years in the making.
We encourage you to read the article: bit.ly/3Bb8biv
Lastly, on Nov. 10, just as Cindy was telling a different news crew with Fox59/CBS4 about how Boulevard Place is increasingly seeing first-time clients needing food assistance, such a customer walked through our doors and detailed her situation, which we were happy to temporarily remedy. Their article contains information for our neighbors-in-need at Boulevard Place and the 30th Street pantry, and we are so appreciative. https://fox59.com/news/food-pantries-see-rise-in-need-as-holidays-approach/