by Naeemah Jackson, Director of Family Programs

There are myriad definitions for the word Peace.  For some it simply means an absence of violence or anger or conflict.  However, the concept of Peace covers an incredibly wide range of thoughts and feelings.

In the Family Peace Workshops that I facilitate, when I ask, “What does Peace mean to you?;” participants – both youth and adults come up with definitions such as: happiness, joy, freedom, security, respect, clean environment, family, friends, laughter, feeling of belonging, no fear – and one that stands out for this moment – not being hungry all the time.

Since July 2020, Peace Learning Center with a generous grant from the United Way of Central Indiana’s COVID-19 Relief Fund,  and through its Family Programs initiative; have fed over 150 families and 463 individuals.  90% of these families reside in the 46218 zip code.  We have been able to provide fresh and healthy meals on site; as well as hundreds of pounds of dry groceries, masks, hand sanitizers, household cleaning items, books, and magazines on how to eat healthy on a food stamp budget.  In addition, families receive gift cards which will allow them to purchase fresh healthy food and other household items they need.  Many families save half of the gift cards to be used for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Also, these gift cards can be utilized for Uber and Lyft rides to the grocery.

Sadly, the area in 46218 where we are providing these services is a well-documented food desert.  There is no full-service grocery store or pharmacy in the area, and, if a family does not have personal transportation; it takes 4 bus rides to get to a full-service grocery store at 38th & Avondale.

Going to bed hungry, and waking up hungry is anathema to feelings of peace and security.  We here at PLC are grateful to the United Way of Central Indiana for their support in alleviating food insecurity in our city.