Quick Takes editorial: Helping to feed our community

The record 2,599 free Thanksgiving meals served up to area residents by three local churches — Columbus Baptist, First Christian and Sandy Hook United Methodist — comes after volunteers from the Anderson Center earlier this month delivered some 350 meals. These remarkable numbers say a couple of things about our community.

First, the numbers speak to the heart of compassion that exists to help those in need, particularly through the holiday season. We can never praise this enough.

Secondly, though, the number of meals served through charitable donations by selfless volunteers highlights the ever-growing number of people in our community who are struggling to put food on the table.

As the cost of everything from rent to gas to food continues to rise, those of us who are able to help our neighbors in need will have to step up and make sure no one is going hungry. We’re doing that, but let’s keep it up through the holidays and beyond. Following are some more salutes to a few notable local efforts.

‘Pack a Patrol Car’ nets tons

The annual “Pack a Patrol Car” event is one that outgoing Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers calls perhaps his proudest community outreach. There’s good reason for that — this year, the nonperishable food drive collected about 6,000 pounds, or nearly three tons, of food for Love Chapel’s food pantry and the Salvation Army.

“Pack a large trailer” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but that is how much food the annual drive actually collected this year, Capt. Dave Steinkoenig with the sheriff’s office said.

Sheriff’s office, county employees, members of the community and local businesses joined in to give in the spirit of the season, even as the cost of goods continues to climb for everyone.

It’s too early to start offering Bartholomew County Sheriff-elect Chris Lane unsolicited advice, but we think we can safely recommend “Pack a Patrol Car” as a tradition that should continue for years to come.

Bank on it: Businesses help out

The Christmas Food Drive for Columbus is in its second year, but this feels like it has staying power. Columbus business leaders and longtime friends Jody Johnson, owner and operator of Johnson’s NextLevel Services, and Dominic Glover of Glover DeWeese Law, along with Columbus branches of First Financial Bank, are collecting donations of nonperishable food and cash donations for Love Chapel’s food pantry.

Johnson said after the inaugural drive raised more than 1,000 pounds of food and more than $1,000 in donations, “Dominic and I decided we wanted to make this an annual event.” So through Dec. 10, you can drop off food donations or monetary donations at any local First Financial branch. And on Dec. 10, from noon to 4 p.m., the branch at 2737 Central Ave. also will be collecting turkeys and hams, all of which will go to Love Chapel’s food pantry.

Help, or get help, directly

If you are able to help those in need through donations of food, money or volunteer effort, there are numerous ways to do so. And if you need help, it is available. These are among our community’s chief helpers:

Love Chapel food pantry: 292 Center St., Columbus, 9 a.m.-noon Monday-Saturday. (812) 372-9421.

Salvation Army food pantry: 2525 Illinois St., Columbus, 10 a.m.-noon Monday; 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday-Thursday. (812) 372-7118.

Other food resources: feedingamerica.org.