Pantry 279 was conceived, built, and run by 10 Girl Scouts from troop 69-279 as their Silver Award Project. The girls, ranging between age 11 – 13 at the time, wanted to build a food pantry to help their friends at school who were only getting food while at school, due to family crisis.
With the help of their Leader, parents and a partnership with Trinity Lutheran Church, this was achieved and Pantry 279 opened Nov. 2, 2015.
We expected that after a year of operation, to be serving approximately 30 people a week. This happened on week 2. Our first month we served 607 people, the second month over 1200, third month over 1400, and so it has continued.
The pantry grew much faster than anyone ever expected! Then COVID-19 happened and out numbers doubled and climbed again. We currently serve over 1800 families a month, which is over 5500 people a month, and we continue to grow.
The girls who started this are now young adults, Many have recently graduated high school and have gone on to or are preparing for college. Some of the founding group still volunteer and one sits on our board. The decision was made, due to our size, to open to the public and all youth groups for volunteers and help.
We are expanding our community services and now provide education about food need, and food insecurity to any groups in need. We provide a place people, families, and community groups, can learn and do a wonderful, hands-on community service that really makes a difference. Some of our other programs provide community gardens for fresh produce, we sponsor a Children’s Summer Supplemental Food Program, a Thanksgiving box meal program, and the very popular and loved ELF Dispatch.
But mostly we provide very needed food once a week for families or individuals in need in Southern Indiana.