Charities struggling to keep up with growing need

Associated Press
December 5, 2010
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Indiana charities say they're giving out record amounts of food and are struggling to keep up with demand this year as the economy continues to sputter despite a dip in unemployment.

Many say they're bracing for a bigger increase in need as thousands of Hoosiers face losing unemployment benefits this month.

Mike Miller, chief operating officer for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, said the current economic downturn is "like nothing we have seen in our 30-year history."

Officials say 87 percent of food pantries are seeing an increase in clients as more than 90,000 people in central Indiana alone have fallen into poverty this year.

LaTheda Noonan, manager at the Interchurch Food Pantry in Franklin, said the charity fed more than 3,100 people in October, a 14 percent increase over last year. People who once donated to the food pantry are now among those seeking help, she said. Donations have dropped 50 percent from last year.

Officials at the Midwest Food Bank say they expect to collect an additional 3.5 million pounds of food this year over last year, but it won't be enough to help the 60,000 to 70,000 people served at its Indianapolis-area agencies.

The food bank serves about 220 organizations. It has 50 more on its waiting list, and others are starting to apply.

"The face of the needy is changing in America," said John Whitaker, executive director of operations at the pantry. "It used to be the transient on your street. Now it's your neighbor."

The need comes even as a national report showed charitable giving was up this year.

The survey by the National Research Collaborative showed that 36 percent of charities reported an increase in donations in the first nine months of this year, compared with 23 percent in the same period last year.

"It's pretty pitiful to say when 36 percent say giving is up, that it's a good year," said Melissa Brown, associate director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which was a partner in the survey.


  • Funding
    Wouldn't it be great if the Township Trustees across the State would utilize the $230 million of surplus cash in accounts and provide emergency poor relief by depositing some of that cash in food banks across the State. A huge percentage of Township Trustees only serve 2 people or less on an annual basis and yet retain reserves and refuse to request less funds from the tax payers and instead accumulate reserves. See League of Women Voters study on Township Trustees.

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  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...