Commissioners award $77K in pandemic relief money to food pantries

Funviralpark 2 years ago 0 1

The county commissioner recently used federal pandemic relief dollars to award nine local food pantry grants.

Pantry was awarded over $77,000 in total out of the $100,000 the county set aside for grants. The funding comes from her $31 million pool received by Johnson County from the federal American Relief Plan Act in 2021.

The Johnson County Commission unanimously approved and announced the pantry to receive the grant at its December 19 meeting.

The nine pantries awarded include: New Whiteland’s Great Harvest Food Pantry, $2,275. Harvest Food Pantry in St. Francis and Clare, $1,195. Interchurch Food Pantry, $38,729. Johnson County Senior Services, $15,405. New Life Fellowship Church of God in Whiteland, $29.40. Our Lady of Greenwood Food Pantry, $8,428. Franklin Hub, $6,889. Greenwood’s The Refuge, $2,704.

Reaching the point of awarding the grant is the result of a months-long process of county officials and the Johnson County Community Foundation figuring out how to split the money and how to get it to qualified pantries.

The $100,000 grant program was first approved in June by the County ARPA Commission, which consists of three commissioners and three members of the Johnson County Council. The commissioner and council approved the allocation of funds immediately after passing the ARPA committee, but the application process took months of work.

County Councilman Ron Deer spearheaded the project and led the development of the application process. He spent months working with the county attorney and the Johnson County Community Foundation on processes and applications to fill out for Hood his pantry to receive money.

Discussions continued at the June-December ARPA Commission meetings, where members discussed how the funds would be distributed among the proposed food pantries. The question was whether the money could be distributed evenly to those who applied, or whether it could be calculated based on the size and needs of each pantry.

The Johnson County Community Foundation participated as a third party to assist in receiving grant applications and managing the process. Officials have determined that the best way to maintain fairness is to split grants based on size and need. Pantries were evaluated using a formula showing how many people served each over a 34-month period.

In the process, Shika argued that local food pantries need to be supported.

“In fact, demand is 14% higher than in 2021. Interchurch Food Pantry documents, for example, say demand is up 60%. Clearly there is a need,” said Deer. says.

Shika wasn’t able to see the whole process through to the end due to some personal health issues. However, he was happy to see the work bear fruit.

“I appreciate what the Commissioner is thinking of doing and all that we have been working on,” Deer said.

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