A Successful 2022 Food Pantry Summit
Indy Hunger Network was joined by over 300 representatives of food pantries, government agencies, and nonprofits from across Central Indiana for the 2022 Food Pantry Summit on October 14. The all-day event was held at Second Presbyterian Church and marked the first time that the Summit was hosted in person since 2019. This was also the first Summit to include representatives from pantries outside of Marion County.
“I think people were really excited to get back in person,” Alex Sindorf, IHN Food Assistance Programs Manager and the planner of the Summit, said. “Especially for some of the newer pantry leaders, I think it was a great opportunity to connect for the first time with others who are working in the same space.”
The Indy Hunger Network Food Pantry Summit is designed to foster collaboration among pantry leaders by offering a space to connect with other representatives from across the Greater Indianapolis area. Ten Indy Hunger Network partner organizations also offered resources at information tables. This type of collaboration leaves food pantries better equipped to continue fighting hunger in the Greater Indianapolis area.
“We have almost 200 food pantries just in Marion County and even more in the surrounding counties,” Sindorf said. “A lot of times those organizations aren’t working together unless something like the Summit happens. This is an opportunity to not only offer training and connecting people to other resources, but it helps those pantry leaders get to know one another so that they can collaborate throughout the year and make sure that they are working together as they work toward common goals.”
The day’s programming included opportunities for networking and training through a variety of informational and breakout sessions. These sessions were led by pantry leaders from across Central Indiana as well as public health experts and community members. Plenary sessions included remarks from Mayor Joe Hogsett, introductions of new anti-hunger leaders, and information on health equity. Additionally, 18 breakout sessions were offered as part of the Summit, ranging in topic from promoting healthy food choices and food distribution models to the premier of The Working Hungry, a new WFYI documentary on hunger in Indianapolis.
The Food Pantry Summit is part of Indy Hunger Network’s broader effort to support food pantries. Since the first Summit in 2018, small groups of neighboring food pantries have gathered regularly to collaborate on shared goals. Looking forward, IHN will continue to offer opportunities for pantry representatives to connect. Planning is in early stages for a smaller event to be held in 2023, with the return of a full Food Pantry Summit in the spring of 2024. In the meantime, IHN will continue to host coalition group meetings and other activities throughout the year. To stay up to date on all the work that Indy Hunger Network is doing, visit our website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Indy Hunger Network is a coalition of representatives from leading anti-hunger organizations, both public and private, whose mission is to create a food system that ensures anyone who is hungry can access the nutritious food they need.
The Indy Hunger Network Food Pantry Summit was sponsored by our partners: City of Indianapolis, Community Health Network, Corteva Agriscience, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, and Second Presbyterian Church.