Homelessness and hunger are problems throughout the world. Bloomington is no different. When thinking about Bloomington, most only think of IU’s impressive campus, but the homeless and hungry are there as well; however, even though it is not in the forefront, there are several services available in Bloomington there to help the needy.
Shelters and Related Services:
Shelter’s Inc. was founded in 1985, and offers housing to individuals and families. They provide employment counseling, case management, and educational and life skills services. They also have a Transitional House program. This program involves an apartment community established to aid in the transition from homelessness. Shelter’s Inc. accepts donations, both material and financial. It also accepts volunteers. Information on how to help is here.
Shalom Community Center is an extension of Shelter’s Inc., and it provides a day shelter to individuals and families. Shalom serves breakfast and lunch, gives homeless an address to use for mail, and a place to receive messages. Shalom offers employment, bill paying, housing assistance, legal aid, and other services. There are several ways to support Shalom Community Center, those can be found here. They accept donations of various kinds, and volunteers.
Stepping Stones is a shelter specifically for homeless teens and young adults. The founder, Sheri Benham, began it in 2004 after her experiences with troubled teens. It opened in 2005. It is the only organization in the area which specializes in teens and young adults suffering from homelessness. The program is designed to give a safe haven for young people coming from poor living conditions, and to assist in transitioning them into independent living and adulthood. Ways one can help can be found here.
Food Related Services
Community Kitchen of Monroe County is Bloomington’s local soup kitchen, but it is so much more. At the main location it offers sit down meals, Monday – Saturday, 4-6PM. They offer cold carryout meals, and a vegetarian option. The dinner is a full meal. There is an express location, which offers warm and cold carryout meals. They have three programs specifically for children; these are a sack lunch meal, weekend meals, and a summer breakfast program. For information on how to help out is provided here. Volunteer information is here.
Hoosier Hills Food Bank serves six counties in Indiana. It has been in operation since 1982, and has distributed over 22 million pounds of food resources. It collects food and distributes it to non-profit organizations that feed tens of thousands of people a year. It works with the US Department of Agriculture to get food for food pantries and soup kitchens in 9 counties to bring food to the neediest. It helps low-income seniors, and families in rural areas. Information on how to help is here.
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is Bloomington’s local food pantry. Individuals and families in need can receive wholesome, healthy food directly from Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. They allow one bag of groceries per person per household per week. In addition to food, they offer nutrition education, and education on how to grow gardens. Information on volunteering is here and donating is here.
Of course these are only some of the services available in Bloomington, and there are several other ways to help homeless and needy individuals in this area. It does not take much time out to volunteer, and it can change someone’s life. Donating and advocating are other positive ways to help.