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  • Evelyn Blunt

Flanner House Making Moves!

When the Covid-19 pandemic first started, everyone, everywhere was immediately overwhelmed with what to do first. Which direction to take and how do I stay safe?

So, let me tell you about a little story about a group of men and women who took chaos and created order.

At the beginning of March, right when the pandemic became a real threat, Brandon Cosby, Executive Director of Flanner House, called a meeting with his staff to inform them that the center would be closing in line with city protocols, but primarily because he wanted to keep everyone safe.

Following that order, he along with Sibeko Jywanza of Cleo’s Bodega and Café, decided to help begin the process of getting food to those families not only within the Flanner House circle, but to address the immediate need to feed those students in the NNW area who were no longer in school. They did this by first liquidating the food in the Bodega.

Then by working with other community volunteers like Nigel Long, to distribute food amongst the IPS families using Cleo’s Bodega as a makeshift headquarters. Nigel was able to coordinate distribution networks between schools like Ignite Academy and Global Prep Academy through their own social workers, teachers and parent volunteers.

As things progressed, partnerships also included the Near Northwest Faith Partners (NNWFP) in efforts to feed seniors, the homeless and those now unemployed. Rhonda Bayless of, The Center of Wellness for Urban Women (CWUW) helped us tremendously by setting up and maintaining a fundraiser link for anyone who wanted to donate to the cause.

As things settled, Flanner House made sure that we were able to assist families safely by helping coordinate a meeting with our City Councilman, Vop Osili, to utilize the buses from IndyGo for food delivery. Consequently, every Monday the staff of Flanner House, along with some great volunteers & partnerships with organizations like Gleaners and Second Helpings, was able to feed all the Flanner families in need for each week since March. Brandon Cosby, even stepped things up by providing $100 gift cards to not only the Flanner families but also sharing them with the Near Northwest Faith Partners endeavors and IPS families.

On June 15, Flanner House reopened its doors to the Childcare Center and still continues to serve food to any family in need. I am very proud of the work, commitment and services Flanner House has provided to our community during this time of need. It is always a pleasure working with those committed to serving and helping people.

NNW Editorial Commentary

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