Frequently Asked Questions

What is a food bank?

Think of a food bank as a distribution center. Food and critical grocery products are donated to Gleaners through grocery stores, food manufacturers and distributors, and food drives. The food is collected, sorted and stored in Gleaners’ distribution center in Indianapolis. It is then distributed to a network of nearly 600 agency and community partners including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and schools.

What’s the difference between a food bank and a food pantry?

A food bank is the distribution center for a network of food pantries. Gleaners is the distribution center for all agency partners in its 21-county service area. Food pantries are a type of agency partner that directly serve Hoosiers by allowing people in need to receive food from the pantry. Gleaners also has a food pantry on site.

Can someone come directly to Gleaners to get food?

The only way people can get food directly from Gleaners is by coming to our on-site food pantry during its operating hours.

I’ve seen your campaign that indicates that $1 = 4 Meals. How does my dollar really buy that many meals?

Since Gleaners is the distribution center for many local agency partners, our buying power and need to buy in large quantities, combined with our 501(c)(3) tax exemption status, allow for very cost-efficient prices on product. Gleaners’ Operations team also works diligently to cultivate worthwhile partnerships to create sustainable purchasing models to best steward donor dollars.

What kind of food would you like donated?

The exact same types of food that you would eat, serve your children, and make for yourself. Hoosiers who are in need of food assistance are just like you and your neighbor. Many clients are very thankful for any food that is provided, but we ask that you avoid donating your “back-of-the-shelf” items and provide food that all Hoosiers enjoy.

Can I come see the food bank?

Of course! A tour can be set up if you like. Just complete our Contact Us form to get something set up.

Do you have food safety guidelines?

From food drives to store pick-ups, food safety is at the core of everything we do. To ensure that the food we provide is handled safely, we follow Feeding America’s food safety guidelines.

What is Feeding America?

Feeding America is a network of 58,000 pantries, meal service programs, and other charitable food programs that reaches people in need in every community across the U.S. Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana is a member of the Feeding America network. Learn more about the facts and faces of hunger in America.

Where do the statistics that you cite come from? What kind of research has been done on hunger in America?

The data comes from more than 60,000 confidential client surveys and 32,000 surveys completed by Feeding America network food banks and their partner agencies as part of the Hunger in America 2014 research study. Locally, 245 eligible agencies in the Gleaners network completed online surveys (a response rate of 82%). Gleaners staff and volunteers visited 88 agency program sites across our 21-county service area, where 733 eligible clients were sampled and 53% responded to the survey.

Hunger in America 2014 is the largest, most comprehensive study ever conducted on domestic hunger-relief efforts, and reveals that each year, the Feeding America network of food banks provides service to 46.5 million people in need across the United States, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.

Download the Hunger in America 2014 Executive Summary


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