If you drive past Westminster Neighborhood Services in Indianapolis at 8:55 a.m. on most Monday mornings, you’ll see a line of people standing outside, waiting for the doors to open. Some of them have walked many blocks to be there, while others arrive by car or bus. Many of them are holding empty bags or pulling wagons to carry things back home.
Why is there a line at the door? Because people are hungry.
When we talk about food insecurity today, we often try to pinpoint the reason. We theorize that – if we understand the reason − we can surely fix the problem. As a problem-solver myself, I can appreciate the instinct to search for root causes when faced with issues like this.
It’s not that simple though. The people who walk through the doors at Westminster come from different backgrounds and face unique challenges. Very few of them can point to one life event that led to their current situation. Some are homeless, living in cars or abandoned houses. Others have homes in the neighborhood but live below the poverty line and need help to cover their basic needs.
That’s what we do at Westminster: We give people what they need when they arrive at our doors. Neighbors receive groceries from the twice-weekly food pantry. They enjoy a hot lunch from our soup kitchen, where we serve nutritious meals prepared by our partners at Second Helpings. And we work with each neighbor to identify resources to improve their situation, whether it’s signing up for SNAP food assistance, receiving transportation vouchers or getting access to important medical resources for better health outcomes.
We do all this because, frankly, to ignore the needs of others would be inhumane. It is simply unconscionable for people in Indianapolis to be hungry today, when we live in a community that’s so rich with resources. At Westminster, we come together – neighbors, staff and volunteers – to make a difference for others in need.
You can help. (Please help.)
One person cannot fix the deep-rooted problems associated with poverty in our city, but our individual and collective efforts can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need.
Volunteer with us. During a normal month, it takes 45-50 volunteers to keep our programs running. If your company provides volunteer time off (VTO) – or if you’re retired or currently between jobs – sign up for a four-hour volunteer shift in the food pantry or the soup kitchen. There’s no requirement for a recurring commitment: We welcome one-time volunteers and/or groups who want to volunteer together.
Sign up here
Donate to Westminster. We rely on individual donors and sponsor organizations to fund programs and services for our neighbors. Although donated items are appreciated, financial donations allow us to do more with increased buying power from local food banks. Please consider a one-time or recurring donation OR talk to your employer about becoming a sponsor of Westminster.
Come to Food Fight 2023. Westminster’s biggest annual fundraiser is a “Chopped”-style cooking competition between local high-schools’ culinary students. Teams concoct and serve food for event attendees, using items that are typically found in Westminster’s food pantry. This year’s Food Fight will take place on Friday, April 21.
Let’s meet sometime.
If you have an interest in learning more about Westminster Neighborhood Services, we’d love to meet you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (317) 632-9785 to schedule a tour or to discuss opportunities to get involved.
Becky Doemland, Board Chair
Westminster Neighborhood Services