Filled Bellies, Happy Bellies.

By Julia McPherson on April 4, 2014 in AmeriCorps

To end the month with a bang, Team Indy organized and implemented our very own Food Drive benefiting the Damien Center.  The Damien Center is a local AIDS Service Organization focusing on empowering clients across Central Indiana affected by HIV to move forward in life with dignity. This community organization provides care coordination, supportive and medical services.  A pivotal department within the Damien Center is the Coby Palmer Food Pantry.  When diet is critical in maintaining a strong and healthy immune system, the Damien Center serves as a community leader in both providing educational instruction and providing supplemental nutrition.
Despite the cold and slushing rain, the team braved the erratic Indiana weather March 28th-30th by standing outside of a local grocery store and asking patrons to consider purchasing a few extra items with their shopping trip for the Damien Center.
We stopped everyone prior to entering the store and handed out a short bookmark of suggested items to purchase if they were willing to participate.  Many kind community members donated grocery bags of nonperishable and hygiene products while others donated a few canned goods.  Those who were unable to donate still took their time to learn of the importance of the Damien Center as a leading community resource and the team was even able to introduce our AIDS United program and our upcoming Long Term Project: “Are you positive you are negative?” public service announcement.


We have come to realize we definitely need to have a bit more confidence in our skills and projects.  We estimated we would fill one, maybe two, milk crates with donated items by the end of the first day.  We exceeded this goal within the first hour and this success only picked up over the weekend!!  Each day we had to take multiple packed car loads over to the Damien Center to make room for the incoming donations.  We drove the need for personal hygiene products so hard that the grocery store we partnered with was cleared of soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrushes.  The team not only was able to replenish the shelves of the pantry; we obtained enough donations to fill it five times over!


Despite the weather, the commitment of the team was positive and upbeat!  Plenty of coffee and plenty of quick sprints and breakout dance sessions warmed us over the weekend.  We were happy to hear of the surprise and gratitude of the Damien Center staff and the excitement of its clients.

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