1. Background
  2. Economic Justice

Feeding Hungry Families in Indiana

December 10, 2018

Ron and Pam Ferguson, both Quaker pastors, have been watching the food insecurity situation in Randolph County with growing concern. The county, to the east of Indianapolis, straddles the border between Indiana and Ohio. They have seen the county’s largely rural economy fluctuate as investments dry up and employers leave.

As the county’s economy declined, the demands on the Shalom Center’s Community Food Pantry, supported by more than 150 churches in Winchester, IN, increased. Currently, the food pantry serves upwards of 1,250 people and families monthly.

“Easily over 60 percent of our families we serve we see only two to three times a year. We are for emergencies and when all else fails,” said Rev. Pam Ferguson who, with her husband Ron, has been running the pantry since 2011. “No more than five percent of our families show up every month. We never turn anyone away.”

In July, at the invitation of the Fergusons, Senator Todd Young (IN) toured the food pantry with other local officials. Pam explained how cuts to SNAP would affect the community. Should the pantry close, hundreds of families and children in Randolph County would go hungry.

Researchers estimate that the federal government provides 20 times the resources in nutrition assistance than what all the private charities and congregations provide combined.

“If federal SNAP funding is cut by even a small amount, there will be far less food at our panty. Cutting funding doesn’t cut hunger or need,” said Ron Ferguson.