Project boosts local food pantries

Area food banks say CANstruction serves as a big aid to help them feed Bartholomew County families until the beginning of spring and sometimes beyond.

It even helps them add to what is given to each struggling family, said Elizabeth Kestler, executive director of Love Chapel food pantry, the county’s largest, serving more than 1,000 households per month.

In the past, food bank leaders have said the February-March period often can be a time of lower donations to their supplies.

However, cans of food that come in during the annual CANstruction event, including People’s Choice Award voting through noon Sunday, are given to Lovel Chapel, The Salvation Army and the Community Center of Hope by the end of the month.

“The donation makes a huge difference, especially since some of those items are quite nutritional,” Kestler said.

She noted that some of this year’s CANstruction projects contain much-needed food items such as peanut butter and fruit.

The 32,000 cans already collected “will be a tremendous help” en route to organizers’ goal of 40,000 cans, Kestler said.

Capt. Alan Sladek of the Columbus office of The Salvation Army said the canned donations help especially with staples such as macaroni and cheese and meats such as tuna and salmon.

“It usually keeps us in pretty good shape through March,” Sladek said.

At the Community Center of Hope, executive director Chelsea Kendall cited the same benefits as the Salvation Army because of the canned meats.

Besides helping families eat properly, receiving canned goods allows families fighting to make ends meet to spend money they do have on toiletries they need — items that also needed at the center.

“And those go out of here pretty quickly, too,” she said.

Food pantries

Love Chapel

Address: 311 Center St., Columbus

Phone: 812-372-9421

Hours: 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Saturday


Salvation Army

Address: 2525 Illinois St., Columbus

Phone: 812-372-7118


Pantry hours: 10 a.m. to noon Monday; 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday and Thursday; 5 to 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month.

Community Center of Hope

Address: 543 Washington St., Hope

Phone: 812-546-4499


Pantry hours: 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday.

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