Snow shrinks supplies, lines at Indianapolis food banks

INDIANAPOLIS - While Department of Public Works officials struggle to get Indianapolis roads back in working order, the city's food pantries say they are still feeling the brunt of the storm.

At the St. Vincent De Paul food bank, the normally packed waiting room was empty Thursday. The food bank was closed for two weeks over the holidays, and another two days this week due to snow and bitter cold. The snow also hampered deliveries of food.

On Thursday, barely a dozen clients browsed the empty aisles for food.

"The weather has them holed up right now probably," said food bank operations manager Carl Bracken. "Usually we'll see 700-800 people on Thursday morning."

The St. Vincent De Paul food bank typically serves as many as 3,200 people each week. Despite recent closings, there doesn't seem to be a pent up demand for assistance.

"I've never seen it this low," said Ann, a food bank recipient. "I've always had to stand in line there probably a half-hour, up to an hour."

Dangerous driving conditions also caused difficulties for deliveries of food to shut-ins. Meals on Wheels volunteers normally deliver meals to more than 500 clients Monday-Friday of each week. This week, no deliveries were made on Monday or Tuesday.

"It has been a crazy week with the weather," said Meals on Wheels' communication director Barb Renshaw. "We have awesome volunteers that have done a good job of getting out in the conditions with the weather. But some of the clients we weren't able to get to."

With road conditions returning to semi-passable, volunteers are back on the streets delivering meals to hungry clients.

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