INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis church believes their free food giveaway is more important now than ever. The members at the Eagle Creek campus of Life Church quickly ran out of food during their last giveaway outside their church building on Lafayette Road near West 62nd Street. Now they are praying for more help as they provide for hungry families.
The number of families needing help comes as no surprise to Pastor Mike Maleto. He has noticed many new families showing up for the food drive.
"You can tell just by the turnout of people coming just how much the need is," Pastor Mike said.
The monthly free food giveaway transitioned to curbside pickup last year because of COVID-19. The need is so great now, Pastor Mike hopes do the giveaway twice a month.
Inside the church, 30 to 40 volunteers help put together the food baskets to feed hungry families. When Pastor Mike requested help from his membership, many of them volunteered right away. They formed teams to help assemble the food and prepare baskets to give to people in need.
Maleto said they gather dry goods, meat and vegetables to feed families. "Enough that will make several meals that would last a week or two for a family," he said.
Pastor Mike's biggest curbside supporters are his parents, who held signs in the cold. Pickup was so quick and easy, the church ran out of food. But the volunteers don't see that as a negative.
"I praise God that we ran out of food because we are serving. But I am asking God and anyone else that can, donate more food," said Judy Maleto, Pastor Mike's mother.
Judy and her husband, affectionately known around the church as "Pappa Mike," relocated from the northeast part of the U.S. to support their son's ministry. That includes standing outside to get needy families to take advantage of the church's makeshift drive-thru for curbside food distribution.
"We do it because we want to and because we are led by the Lord to do it," Michael Maleto, Pastor Mike's father, said.
The Life Church curbside giveaway is not only food for the body, but also the soul.
"As they pick up their food they can pull off and from their car get curbside prayer also," Pastor Mike said.
Pastor Mike told 13News, if they get enough donated food, they can do the giveaway twice a month and help more needy families during a time people need help the most.