It's been over a year since the Community Food Box Project (CFBP) installed our first Box at IPS School #56. The initial inspiration for the project came from my time as a Desmond Tutu Youth Fellow at Christian Theological Seminary. The program provided underrepresented youth ages 16-21 the opportunity to travel to South Africa, be mentored by Indianapolis leaders, and receive guidance in starting our very own social justice projects. During my time in South Africa, anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu told us to "reach for the stars, don't let anyone tell you you are made for anything less." I promised myself that I would live in to these words at every cost.
Today, there are 13 official CFBP locations in food insecure areas around Indianapolis. The boxes are emptied and filled multiple times per day, feeding thousands of families. In the next month, IU Health will install 20 more boxes around the city, bumping our total number up to 33. This is a huge step in the expansion of the project and it will impact a wider range of people. Currently, most of our boxes are on the east side. The partnership with IU Health will help us spread the movement to more areas that need it most.
NUVO newspaper has recently donated 50 more boxes to the cause. The boxes will be refurbished, painted and stored by inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. I have plans to spread the CFBP to other nearby cities and towns to help with the issue of rural food insecurity. Often, people who live in rural areas have to drive 10 miles or more to get to a grocery store, and not everyone has a car. Our first rural sponsoring organization is the Salvation Army in downtown Madison, IN. I plan to place 4 or 5 boxes in Madison, IN and then spread to other cities.
The CFBP has grown immensely since last year, and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.