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LAFAYETTE – A winding car from Greenbush Street through the Linnwood Primary School parking lot on Tuesday, heading for 13th Street, then in front of the old school.

The big attraction is food, and the effects of a coronavirus emergency raise the need for it.

“Demand is rising,” Katy Bunder, president and CEO of Food Finders Food Bank, said Monday when he discussed the effects of coronavirus in the Lafayette area.

Bunder estimated between 300 and 350 cars on Tuesday and Friday during a drive-through pickup at the old Linnwood Elementary School on the 1400 Ball Street block. He said the Lafayette nonprofit agency would distribute food that day to around 550 households.

The request came true after the order to stay home was issued and people began to lose their salaries, Bunder said.

“In the first week, we had 54 new households,” Bunder said. “That continues to be a trend.”

Food Finders found a way to minimize people’s exposure to coronavirus during food distribution, Bunder said.

Food Search Staff and National Guard soldiers who have been filtered free of viruses – all wearing masks and gloves – will load food boxes into suitcases that are in line, Bunder said. If luggage is not open, food will be placed next to the car and staff members will back off. Then people who need food can put the box in the car and leave, Bunder said.

Purdue’s Student Plantation increases production

While demand for food rose at Food Finders, Purdue Student Farm found itself without customers for production after classes on campus were canceled and students were sent home.

Steve Hallett, professor of horticulture and landscape architecture and advisor to student agriculture, said small community farming usually sells its products to Purdue’s food service, which in turn, gives it to Purdue students using university dining services.

“We have just found ourselves in a potentially difficult situation like everyone else,” Hallett said. “We don’t want to stop producing food because we know there will be a need in the community.”

Chris Adair, student manager who works in agriculture, said, “Right now we are harvesting spinach. We have spinach for another two or three weeks. “

The spinach is being bagged and donated to Food Finders and Purdue’s food bank, Adair said.

Purdue students will plant crops for summer and autumn and harvest them when they are ready, said Adair. Fresh produce will be donated to the food pantry until students return to campus and their food is bought by the dining service.

“The plan with sales is to continue to grow and contribute until the open market returns to us,” Adair said.

Fresh produce helps in food pantry, Bunder said.

“Purdue farms contribute a number of products, and this is very helpful,” he said, noting that dairy products and dairy products need to be cooled, and the donations of these items are very generous.

“Our coolers are full. We are trying to get a cooler room, “Bunder said, listing several options to increase their ability to cool food.

“What is happening now, we cannot get food that is not perishable,” said Bunder, noting that demand for food that is not perishable has created a competition for supply and demand between retailers and food banks.

“We really need meat,” he added, noting that fresh meat is starting to be hard to find because food banks rely on traders to donate these items, which are hard to find in the retail market.

“We get good donations for food for the COVID crisis,” Bunder said of monetary contributions.

But his concern is what might happen when home stay orders die down. Will the donor consider it a sign that the need to give to the food bank is over?

This is more alarming since a stay-at-home order forced Food Finders to cancel two of its biggest donation events – Blue Jeans Ball and Food Drive Postal Carriers’, Bunder said.

He remembered the 2008 financial collapse and subsequent recession very well. He remembers those who need food.

“Food is the only thing that is flexible in low-income households,” Bunder said.

Rent, car payments, utilities are all relatively fixed every month, so when those who live on the edge of financial difficulties are cut off, they cut food, he said.

Bunder said he saw more and more people who did not need Food Finders before now appearing on Tuesday and Friday distribution, which began at 1 p.m. at Linnwood Elementary School.

He noticed that people who used to come twice a month now came twice a week – maybe because children who used to eat breakfast and lunch at school stayed at home, he speculated.

What the school does

The local school district tried to ease the burden on parents during the COVID-19 emergency.

The Lafayette, Tippecanoe and West Lafayette Schools have each adopted a food program to feed students who depend on the school for breakfast and lunch.

LSC: Parents of Lafayette school students can take breakfast and lunch for one week for their students between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm. every Friday at one of 12 sites.

The sites are in three neighborhoods and nine schools.

Environmental sites are: Cambridge Estates, 2512 Kingsway Drive; Windemere / Briarwood in 1900 Windemere Drive; Julia Lane and Sickle Court.

School pickup sites are: Miami Elementary, 2401 Beck Lane; Oakland Elementary, 611 S. 21st St ;; Edgelea Elementary, 2910 S. 18th St. .; Sunnyside Intermediate, 530 N. 26th St .; Glen Acres, 3767 Kimberley Drive; Earhart Elementary, 3280 S. Ninth St .; Miller Elementary, 700 S. Fourth St .; Vinton Elementary, 3101 Elmwood Ave .; Linnwood School, 1415 Ball St.

TSC: Tippecanoe School Corp.’s parents can pick up five sacks of lunch for their children at one of the five locations in the district. These sites are: Battle Ground Middle School, 6100 N. County Road 50 West, West Lafayette; Point West Mobile Homes Community, 2719 Klondike Road, West Lafayette; Apartment House Romney Meadows, 2905 Westchester Lane, Lafayette; Tippecanoe County Public Library, Wyandotte Branch, 5542 E. County Road 50 South, Lafayette; and Wainwright Middle School, 7501 E. County Road 700 South, Lafayette.

WEST LAFAYETTE: West Lafayette schools will provide five breakfasts and five lunches every Monday. Food is sent to students’ homes. To register, send an email to [email protected] or call 765-746-0421.

As for the Purdue Student Plantations, they will continue to plant and harvest despite the COVID-19 crisis.

“The game plan is to plow,” Hallett said, noting that this was the way Purdue students who farmed on the land could help the community. “We can face a little heat, so we decided to continue.”

Reach Ron Wilkins at 765-420-5231 or at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.

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