FISH receives support through MCCF

New fund established for food pantry


FISH Food Pantry received a brand new Dodge Cargo Van this week, thanks to an anonymous gift made through Montgomery County Community Foundation. With its flashy new wrap, it will be easy to spot when it is out and about.

FISH has always relied on the goodness of volunteers using their personal vehicles to transport food. While it has certainly been appreciated, most personal vehicles cannot accommodate large quantities of food, often packed on pallets. Consequently, they miss out on food that is deeply discounted and sometimes free. The new van will allow them to better, and more economically, stock the pantry and therefore, better meet the needs of their clients.

Aside from this van, MCCF has awarded more than $158,000 in grants to FISH since 1996. The grants have come from unrestricted funds; meaning the donor(s) placed no restrictions on them. Until now, there has been no fund designated to FISH. A newly established fund, the FISH of Montgomery County Fund will do just that. Gifts to the fund are endowed and invested, and each year a percentage of the earnings will be granted directly to FISH to support their work. The beauty of the fund is that anyone may add to it at any time. As the fund grows through additional donations, the greater the annual distribution will be.

To make a gift, one may mail a check to MCCF, with FISH noted in the memo line, to P.O. Box 334, Crawfordsville, IN 47933. Gifts may also be made online at Click the donate button and select FISH from the funds drop down menu.

FISH has been serving the hungry in Montgomery County since 1969, and was incorporated in 1971. It was founded by the Rev. Frank Little, the pastor of the First United Methodist Church at that time, as a mission for meeting the emergency needs of our neighbors in need. Initially, 21 local churches were involved. While the food pantry has perhaps been the most visible arm of the ministry, FISH also operates a clothing closet at Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church and a linen closet at First Baptist Church. Fifty-five years later, the organization is still going strong and is operated exclusively by volunteers. The food pantry now operates more like a food store where patrons have choice and is located behind St. Bernard’s Catholic Church.

Need for the pantry has increased tremendously since 1969. According to their 1996 annual report, in 1995, the pantry served 885 families for the year, a 50% increase over the previous year. Today, FISH reports it serves nearly 450 families per month. Certainly, there could be other variables there, such as hours of operation and familiarity of the program in the community. Regardless, the need has far outpaced the county’s population growth of just 11% since the 1970 census.

Anyone interested in making donations or in volunteering may contact Ellen Simpson at 765-362-3474. To keep up with their news and their needs, follow them on Facebook – FISH Food Pantry of Montgomery County.