SVdP’s 30th Street Food Pantry serves nearly 2,200 households weekly as individuals visit the pantry to pick up food. However, there are many that need help but are unable to get to the pantry. They may be elderly with no ready transportation or disabled and unable to get out. For these homebound neighbors, SVdP has an army of volunteers who pack up and deliver food weekly. Currently, the home delivery team delivers food every week to more than 350 households. The need is far greater, though. The team has a waiting list of more than 70 households. The home delivery team would love to serve all those on the waiting list, too, but the need exceeds drivers at this point.
The home delivery program has been part of SVdP from its earliest days. “At the heart of SVdP is establishing one-to-one relationships with those we help, and this program develops special connections—unique ones—that give us a chance to get to know the person,” says Executive Director Peter Zubler. “For those we deliver food to, it’s often about the social connection as much as it is the need for groceries. And they are so gracious and appreciative.”
SVdP Indy President Paul Ainslie—who has been packing home delivery grocery bags and making deliveries for four-plus years now—says the appreciation goes beyond those who receive the groceries.
“When I’m delivering, neighbors come up to me and thank me—even though I don’t need to be thanked—but they are grateful we’re supporting the people who really need it,” he says. “What I’ve learned is that we’re not just helping the people we’re serving, but also helping the community feel taken care of.”
Home delivery volunteer network
This is one of the volunteer opportunities where you can see the direct need as well as the direct result all at once—and the time commitment is minimal and flexible as well.
Mary Shanley, who has led the home delivery program for the past decade, explains how it works:
- Every Monday morning, a team of volunteers come to the food pantry to pack the non-perishable bags for the week—usually a variety of dry goods, including peanut butter, soup, bread, pasta, etc.
- On Wednesday mornings, another team packs perishable items like meat, cheese, butter, milk, eggs and produce.
- Then beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, cars line up to pick up groceries and spread out throughout the city delivering with a smile and a kind word. Delivery is scheduled at the driver’s convenience—groceries can be picked up between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., so while many come in the morning, others make deliveries at lunch or after work.
“These drivers are wonderful,” says Mary. “They are also so happy to help and it’s really rewarding each week to see all the drivers come and help us deliver food to those who are in need—many who are disabled.”
How to get involved
In order to move those on the waiting list to our weekly home delivery list, we need more volunteers. While we’d prefer those who can volunteer weekly and help us build relationships, we also value having a long list of substitute drivers who can pitch in if we’re short one week. Subs are typically contacted by Monday to see if they’re available that Wednesday. Please consider joining this special army who is focused on bringing food and fellowship to those who are homebound in our community. The time commitment is typically two hours—and usually less once you learn the route, which is coordinated by proximity to each household. Volunteers are also needed for packing grocery bags on Mondays or Wednesdays.
To sign up, go to www.svdpindy.org and click on I Want To Help > Donate Time> Home Delivery Volunteer > Wednesday Home Delivery Opportunities.