The Love Chapel Christmas Pantry program this week completed its distribution to 900 families.

The Christmas Pantry program gives needy families registering through the local Holiday Helpline about $80 worth of food, including a turkey or ham, potatoes, stuffing mix and other entrees that would be part of a holiday meal, Love Chapel executive director Elizabeth Kestler said.

Love Chapel and this seasonal program are part of the Ecumenical Assembly of Bartholomew County Churches, and operate on donated funds and food.

The record number served for the program is 1,200 families a few years ago, Kestler said.

“Things are better now for some families — at least from the standpoint that some families are now able to get jobs,” Kestler said.

She added that one new feature of the program this year was a two-hour evening time for picking up food. A total of 168 families were served, most of whom Kestler said would not have been able to make time for a pickup because of daytime jobs.

Plus, the evening shift featured Spanish interpreters from Su Casa, the local outreach to Latino families.

The set-up worked so well that Kestler said it will be repeated. In fact, evening hours eventually will be incorporated into Love Chapel’s regular grocery shopping pantry for clients perhaps by spring.

“One thing about it is that it could relieve (shopper) congestion during the daytime,” she said.

Pull Quote

“Things are better now for some families.”

— Elizabeth Kestler, Love Chapel executive director

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.