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By Matt Hayes, Director of Boulevard Place Food Pantry

A sign I have on my office window includes a quote from Paul Farmer: “When one person is hungry, it’s a material problem; when others are hungry, it’s a spiritual problem.”

Fortunately, our community knows how to rally to the cause, as you so wonderfully demonstrated during the 2023 fiscal year. We fed more than 16,000 households—our most ever.

In my first full year as director of what has grown to be the fifth-busiest food pantry in Indianapolis, I focus our philanthropy on leveraging community support. Community equates to flexibility and availability; as I told a local community-minded publication, when an individual reaches out to drop off a donation of diapers, or an organization reaches out to conduct a food drive, our answer is, “Yes, we can make it happen.”

When our neighbor, Collis Hines, wanted to bring in sanitary items in honor of his deceased mother (Martha White), we say “please come!” If we are invited to speak before a group, we gratefully take the stage to talk about food insecurity.

With your generosity, we can keep the focus on what matters most to our clients—food variety, speedy service, kindness from volunteers, and assurance that we’ll always have enough for everyone, no matter how many records we set.

With your amazing and consistent financial commitment, our team can nimbly find the best fit when another food-relief-nonprofit or organization has extras to give.

Our compassionate and dependable volunteers can brighten the day of shoppers from five full zip codes, surprising them each Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday by frequently offering multiple options of the same product—making our reputation for having “client choice” even more robust.

Donors, please keep us top of mind as you plan your giving! With your help, we have the resolve to help our hungry neighbors—lifting spirits along the way.

We fight food insecurity every week of the year and this is part of our arsenal: Fresh produce. Dairy. Savory meats. Bags of pasta and healthy sides. Useful kitchen items. Even something for the sweet tooths. Taken together, they are armor against the enemy: Hunger. Our clients don’t necessarily see it that way in the daily struggle of rising household costs. Our groceries remove one less worry for their week. Thank you to everyone who helped the cause this year.

Download a copy of the Boulevard Place Food Pantry.

Highlights of the 2023 Fiscal Year

By Tom Spalding and Robert White, Board Members

We couldn’t possibly fit all the good into the annual report, so here are some additional highlights of 2023:

  • With Cindy Brown’s official retirement as director in April after 7 years at the helm, an early spring fundraiser held in her honor led to more than $16,000 in donations to our Food Pantry.
  • We welcomed two new board members this year and said thank you and so long to the folks they succeeded. Lisa Wilson joined us as the new representative for Christ the King Parish, succeeding Mike Saunders. And Joy Fay joined us as representative for Immaculate Heart of Mary, succeeding Trinda Metzger, who continues to provide generous service leading multiple food drives for IHM. These join our current board members that include John Peoni (who succeeded Monica Foye in representing SJOA), Andy Pike (representing St. Thomas Aquinas) and Barbara Hendrickson (representing St. Luke).
  • Shopper/helper/loader volunteers—led by coordinator Amy Taylor—are weekly fixtures at Boulevard Place, doing a variety of tasks from receiving to stocking to food presentation to assisting clients. In addition to 100+ volunteers at the Pantry, our compassion-driven free labor this year extended to SVdP’s 30th Street Food Pantry, where a crew of eight help out up to three weeks of each month. These are led by board member John Peoni of SJOA.
  • We did a special video that showcases our shoppers. We worked hard to tell their story while preserving their dignity. It’s who we do it for!

A special collaboration with the CNO Financial Monumental Marathon meant a lot of “foot traffic” from the runners on October 28. The course had to shift around the Butler University campus to in front of our building—on a Saturday morning—so we shifted our hours that day so our shoppers wouldn’t be inconvenienced.Many out-of-towners had never heard of Boulevard Place Food Pantry, but they were aware of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, so in addition to our building logo we had a SVdP Mission 27 truck parked in the lot. It really helped us drive awareness! So did some fun signs we added to the course to motivate runners. And because we helped, we received six boxes of bananas, 6,408 Clif Bars, 14 boxes of pretzels 5040 and 380 Dole fruit cups! We were grateful for the donation!