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By Cynthia L. Brown, Director

Season’s greetings from Boulevard Place Food Pantry, a Special Work of St. Vincent de Paul Society, which so many of you so generously support. Our self-select grocery store certainly faced logistical hurdles in a year we’ll never forget! Ultimately, the pantry fulfilled its mission of serving a vital need in our community. We fed our hungry neighbors with an operation that was reimagined twice. First, in mid-March, after the pandemic made in-person shopping impractical, our mask-on volunteers converted to a drive-through. The second change began in July, as volunteers built and handed out “to-go” kits with the sounds of hammers and drills in the background as accompaniment. Music to our ears!

Some of our significant achievements in the past year:

  • A ceremonial groundbreaking on July 7 featured Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, along with dozens of supporters and dignitaries such as the Witchger Family and Marian Inc. In September and October, new concrete walls went up.
  • By November 7, we had added 1,500 square feet—unfinished but under roof—with freshly placed concrete. This area will house a new ground-floor bathroom, office, storage space and unloading area. Currently, we’re extending the front of the pantry to allow for a more spacious waiting area for clients. Interior work will continue into early 2021.
  • We welcomed Amy Taylor, our first volunteer coordinator.
  • Our five contributing Catholic parishes (Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Luke the Evangelist, St. Joan of Arc and Christ the King) continued to impress with significant direct food and hygiene product donations. Parish donations comprise 10% of all food received at Boulevard Place. We are also fortunate to receive support from other neighboring churches, including Meridian Street United Methodist Church (whose Hansman Fund donation in 2019 helped us get an early start in reinforcing the pantry attic and walls), Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist, Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis and Fairview Presbyterian. Also, Common Ground Christian Church (Midtown) donated the funds to pay for three critical commercial freezer chests that allowed us to continue providing cold food while our walk-in freezer/refrigerator was temporarily disassembled.
  • We are blessed by local partners like Broad Ripple Farmers Market, who provided 8,189 pounds of fresh produce to ensure healthy food options for our clients. Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association also has worked with us on grant funds for renovation infrastructure.

Finally, much gratitude to project manager Steve Shank; structural engineer Paul Brumleve (of Lynch, Harrison & Brumleve, Inc.); architects Jack Munson and Dave Richardson (of Richardson Munson & Weir); and the construction excellence by Dave Taylor and the team at Marian.

As we close 2020, let us remember Joseph “Joe” Earl Meyers and other supporters who have passed. And as we move forward into 2021, we ask for your continued support and prayers!