This previous summer, I had the honor of being an intern for Crooked Creek Food Pantry in Indianapolis. Crooked Creek has been an established food pantry for several years, serving the people of Northside Indianapolis near the Pike area. I learned quickly from my first day not only how caring the staff and volunteers were, but also how much of a difference a cart of groceries meant to a struggling family. With the food pantry partnering with an Eskenazi Health Clinic, many clients of the pantry were prescribed by the clinic to receive food assistance. Many times I would walk over to our check-in area as Crooked Creek operates by drive-thru, and I would see cars on their last mile. Engines rattling, batteries dying, gas tanks draining, it did not matter. The clients were intent on getting their food as it was needed for their survival.
While interning at the food pantry, I was also presented the unique opportunity to shadow Dr. Nace, a pediatrician/general practice physician at the next-door health clinic. I was able to enter examining rooms with Dr. Nace and watch her as she interacted with the patient. I got to observe interactions with a variety of clients, aging from less than a year old to patients in their late fifties. I learned a valuable lesson from each experience, one of them being how “food is medicine,” a common quote by Dr. Nace. Many times, patients who had complications with blood pressure or diabetes led a lifestyle that simply was not healthy. If an improper diet persists for any individual, many negative consequences will soon follow. This was a common occurrence within the health clinic, which makes the work that the partnership between the clinic and the food pantry all the more important. Crooked Creek continues to strive to not just feed the underprivileged community, but to nourish the people so that they may live healthy, long lives.
I would like to personally thank Stephen Claffey (Wabash Alum), Zach Fawbush, Maggie Balek, Steve Van Fossen, Dr. Nace, as well as May, Sharri, Jeanette, and many other volunteers who made this summer internship one of the best professional experiences I have ever had. I also have to thank my Wabash brethren, Jakob Faber and Jackson Hoover, as well as IU Medical School students Cameron and Paul. I look forward to volunteering here again, serving the people, and catching up with my new friends.