The leader of the largest local food pantry says there is enough food to go around in Bartholomew County with the current, regular pattern of financial and food donations.

Elizabeth Kestler, executive director of Love Chapel, supported by about 40 Christian churches plus businesses and individuals, made that comment Thursday while meeting locally with representatives from the Indianapolis-based Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.

New Gleaners President and Chief Executive Officer John Elliott kicked off an information-gathering tour of the nonprofit agency’s 20 counties it serves outside of its Marion County base.

“This community has done a phenomenal job, especially in recent years, of meeting the need,” Kestler said.

She emphasized that about three-fourths or more of Love Chapel’s food or monetary donations come from local sources. She said Gleaners has provided supplemental aid.

Kestler said the sufficiency level has been met within the past year due to four factors.

Dramatic growth of the annual CANstruction event, where teams collect canned goods and come up with creative displays to highlight the need of the locally hungry, via United Way of Bartholomew County. The project generates about 30,000 canned items annually donated to three local food banks.

Success of annual corporate food drives such as those of Faurecia, Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing Inc. and Dorel Juvenile Group Inc.

An increase in meats available through the government commodities program.

Area farmers have become generous donating fresh produce to local pantries while local groceries are donating more food as well.

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