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400-Car Tailgate Events Aid Hungry Indiana Families

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400-car tailgate events
Food pantries are seeing longer lines than usual these days
Photo: Pranav Bhatt via Flickr

As novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to sweep the country, finding and affording food is becoming more difficult in many communities. Grocery store shelves remain empty, supply lines are still disrupted, and income restrictions are making providing even the barest essentials difficult. In this difficult time, food banks have become a necessary commodity for many families. Enter Second Harvest and their 400-car tailgate events.

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Hosting 400-car tailgate events

In Muncie, Indiana, one food bank has taken it upon themselves to aid the community. The Second Harvest Food Bank has begun holding tailgate events at local malls, schools, and churches to give out food to those in need. Thanks to the recent jump in attendance for these events, Second Harvest now holds them on multiple days each week.

In the last weeks of March, Second Harvest held several 400-car tailgate events in Muncie. More than 400 families lined up bumper-to-bumper for a chance to receive free food. This is a massive increase from the 250 vehicles that usually show up to the food pantry’s events.

Facing the challenges

The challenge of running 400-car tailgate events is not lost on Tim Kean, president and CEO of Second Harvest. Traditional food donors, like local grocery stores and distribution centers, no longer have a surplus of food that can be donated. Food pantries across the country are suffering from small staffs and volunteers who no longer have the time to spend handing out food. However, these are challenges that Second Harvest hopes to overcome for the sake of the community.

“You literally can’t get away from the message that tens of thousands of people are affected by school closures or by business closures,” says Kean. “It now, immediately, put thousands of people at risk of hunger that didn’t have that circumstance last week.”

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As the number of attendees at each event continues to grow, it’s unknown how long the country’s food pantries can operate. With any luck, they’ll continue to provide food and amenities until the crisis passes.