Food drive pops up in Boonville

Standard photo/Marisa Patwa

Suzy Geiss (right), a volunteer with Manna Market helps a woman load her bag with canned foods on Monday, July 2.

Even without a building, a local nonprofit is serving Warrick County residents in need with its pop-up canned-food drive in Boonville.

Hope Central, which serves 1,500 to 2,000 people a month, is hosting its Manna Market outside the Prime Foods parking lot, next to Taco Bell, from 4 to 7 p.m. every Monday for the next few weeks.

John Phillips, the director of Hope Central, said they were recently displaced from their previous location in the Warrick County school corps.' old industrial building after it was condemned this May. He said they are transitioning into a new building, located right behind The Master's Chapel Church on S.R. 62 as soon as possible.

Phillips, who only joined as the director of Hope Central recently, said they offer three main services to the people of Warrick County.

"We have Manna Market, which is our food pantry," he said. "And we have Bibs and Bottle Boutique, which is our diaper bank, and Grace Garments, which is our clothing bank."

Things people can get at the Manna Market for free include canned food, toiletries and other household items to help those who have more short-term needs or those who are facing unexpected circumstances.

"We have peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese," Phillips said. "Corn, beans, soda."

Eligible children are provided with wipes, diapers, blankets, bottles, formula and baby food at the Bibs & Bouttle Boutique, and

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Grace Garments offers clothes in sizes for adults, teens, children and infants.

Phillips said Hope Central originally started out of the Living Hope Church from the mind of Pastor Aaron Frantz as a canned-good supply to help assist Warrick County residents in poverty.

"It quickly outgrew that church," Phillips said. "And now we have 18 churches that support us."

Phillips said when he heard that Hope Central was looking for a new director, he jumped on board.

"I have a lot of non-profit experience," he said. "And this sounded like a real challenge. And I just wanted to help people."

Phillips said Warrick County only has two other food pantries that are more exclusive.

"Like the Newburgh Food Pantry," he said, "they only serve Newburgh residents. We don't turn away anyone."

Although Hope Central only serves Warrick County, Phillips said he's willing to break that rule. He did say anyone who can prove their Warrick County residency with a valid driver's license or recent bill, can get some extra commodities that residents outside of the county are not eligible for.

"Like frozen chicken," he said. "Fresh veggies, and other selections of meat."

But for the most part, Hope Central uses an honor system, believing that those who come to use their services truly need them.

Phillips said he wanted to thank all of Hope Central volunteers who help serve the poverty-stricken people of Warrick County.

"We have over 70 volunteers that help us just with Manna Market," he said. "We start setting up in the morning and we don't leave until 8 p.m.,"

Phillips said even though Hope Central isn't currently operating out of a physical building, they still wanted to serve the residents of Warrick County in need any way they could.

"These people are in need," he said. "And we do our best to meet people half way."

Phillips said they also serve homeless people as well.

"We give homeless people backpacks so they can cook over the fire if they want," he said.

For more information on how to donate to Hope Central or receive their services, visit http://www.encounteringhopeministries.com/ or call 812-897-4910.

Phillips said there is no better feeling than seeing a family walk out of the Manna Market with a bag full of food.

"It feels good to see people happy," he said. "And a lot of these people would go hungry if we weren't here."

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