Door Dash delivers food from Pantry 279 in Ellettsville, Bloomington

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Food of Pantry 279 in Ellettsville is reaching more people with the help of DoorDash.

Delivery drivers paid by PorteDash are helping spread food within a 10 mile radius of the Ellettsville pantry as part of Project Dashboard. Deliveries are for people who are homebound, sick, disabled, or unable to make it to Pantry 279, 501 E. Temperance St. in Ellettsville. An exception is made on Saturdays for homebound people in Bloomington.

Deliveries are free and no tipping is allowed. They are only available on the days the pantry is open, ie Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. To request a delivery, people must fill out a form on the food pantry’s website at pantry279.org.

Currently, between 10 and 30 deliveries are made each day the pantry is open, according to pantry manager Cindy Chavez. It collects all requests then releases them, giving drivers time to schedule deliveries between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Most families receive three boxes: one of dry products, one of cold products and one of fresh products.

“We have everything ready to wear with the name on it, just like restaurants do,” Chavez said. “They’re quick. They do it in about 30 minutes.”

Drivers are paid per box, which means they are paid at least three times for each family. For some families, more boxes are requested and delivered.

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Chavez said many seniors use the service, especially since Area 10 agency on aging informs its customers of the option. In Bloomington, folks at The Rise and Kinser Flats are also getting deliveries.

“We try to tell people that, hey, if you don’t have gas money, use it,” Chavez said. “It’s great that we’ve opened up a lot of possibilities for a lot of people.”

She hopes the deliveries will ease the long lines that grow every week at the food pantry, located off Ind. 46 to Trinity Lutheran Church.

“Last week we had two lines trying to block them from driving on the freeway,” she said.

Chavez also hopes the deliveries will reach people who haven’t had access to the pantry in the past. In August, Pantry 279 reached more families than any other month – 2,379 families or 7,509 people.

In addition to families, which average three to five people, Chavez said Pantry 279 is attracting more and more people on fixed incomes and who can’t pay their bills, as prices for public goods and services continue to rise. increase.

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It’s not just something that Pantry 279 workers see. Hoosier Hills Food Bankwhich supplies the lion’s share of goods distributed to Pantry 279, announced that it distributed a record 782,875 pounds of food in August, surpassing the previous record set in June 2020. Hoosier Hills has been in business for 40 years and up by the end of August, this year had distributed 3,866,068 pounds of food, a 4% increase from 2021.

“Without the Hoosier Hills truck, we’re dead in the water,” Chavez said, adding that Pantry 279 routinely has five or six deliveries a week.

Ben Terhune loads bags of food into a vehicle during distribution at Pantry 279 in Ellettsville on Nov. 3, 2021, the day the pantry celebrated its sixth anniversary.

Waiting for Thanksgiving

Although the weekly supply of food is the main purpose of Pantry 279, people are already asking for Thanksgiving meals provided by the Pantry. The online request form for all the food needed for a Thanksgiving meal went live on September 1. Over 400 families had registered by September 6, and more applications were coming in every day.

The challenge this year is to find enough food. Chavez said she is “aiming for 2,200 baskets” but realistically plans to provide 2,500 baskets – if she can get enough donations. She fears bird flu will reduce the number of turkeys the pantry gets and that with higher costs, fewer people will donate food or money.

About Project Dash

Project Dash is active in Washington, DC, and in every state except Vermont. The program started in 2018 and partners with food banks or pantries of all sizes and types. So far, the program has provided over 2 million deliveries of approximately 35,000 meals.

The idea for the program came from a DoorDash employee and has grown steadily ever since, according to Kelly Jones, director of government and nonprofits (and 2007 Indiana University graduate) .

“The need for nonprofit food organizations has skyrocketed during the pandemic,” Jones said. “There is a growing and ongoing need for Project Dash,” which she says “is absolutely here to stay.”

In Indiana, Project Dash operates in eight counties: Monroe, Marion, Posey, Vanderburgh, Johnson, Huntington, St. Joseph, and Marshall. The program uses the same technology and platform as Door Dash.

“We had some really good shooters,” Jones said of the pilots who helped out with Project Dash. “It helped them know what’s going on in their community.”

Contact Carol Kugler at [email protected], 812-331-4359 or @ckugler on Twitter.

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