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INDIANAPOLIS — To help during the coronavirus pandemic, Gleaners Food Bank hosted a “mega” drive-through food distribution event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Gleaners said it’s seen a dramatic increase in the number of food-insecure Hoosiers.

“Among the many challenges of responding to a pandemic, the ability to distribute fresh, perishable food has been among the most difficult,” said President/CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, John Elliot.

He said with many of their traditional partners either closed or reducing distributions, they’re stepping up with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats to share.

As many as 30,000 emergency food boxes are being distributed weekly, and Gleaners said that in March and April, 13.8 million pounds of food was distributed.

“As part of our strategic plan, we made a commitment to focus not just on the amount of food distributed but on the nutritional value of that food,” said Elliot. “That commitment is even more critical during a health crisis because we know that food insecurity directly impacts the 10 most prevalent chronic health diseases and conditions – many of which put hungry Hoosiers at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.”

Gleaners will be distributing more food at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 23.