The other day when I drove past the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville, I noticed that the bright yellow door on the Feeding Families Hamilton County pantry was wide open and no one was nearby.
Being that I was traveling west on Pleasant Street, I motored around the roundabout and back to the main Fairgrounds parking lot, and I got out of the vehicle and closed the pantry door.
I did so because I remembered, back in May at Noblesville Schools Educational Services Center, a Feeding Families pantry door was left open for a raccoon to venture inside and enjoy his breakfast, lunch and dinner. Feeding Families lost two battles with the raccoon before new locks were put on the doors.
Being that so much effort goes into building these pantries and keeping them stocked, the community needs to help take care of these pantries. If you see a pantry door left open and no one is using it, close the door.
Less than three months ago, I featured this grassroots charity that helps feed families in Hamilton County.
Mark and Lisa Hall of Noblesville -- who created Feeding Families Hamilton County and opened six food pantries in early April thanks to the help of Ivy Tech Noblesville students, who built the pantries -- launched two more food pantries on Monday.
They opened one new food pantry just outside the Pizza House at Jackson and Main streets in downtown Cicero, and opened the second new food pantry at the Noblesville Moose Lodge on Field Drive, just east of Forest Park’s north entrance.
“Both are stocked,” said Mark Hall, who opened the door on the Cicero pantry to show the full shelves in a Facebook video that had already received almost 4,000 views. “About a hundred meals in this one and about a hundred meals at the Moose Lodge.”
The Halls advise folks to be careful as they visit and open a pantry door. Two weeks ago, both Lisa and Mark Hall were stung by wasps as they were out stocking pantries at the Noblesville Schools Educational Services Center and at Chapel Church at Eighth and Walnut in Old Town Noblesville.

“Please, please be careful if you’re putting food in, and please, please be careful if you’re taking food out,” Mark Hall said.
Feeding families is Hall’s three companies’ charities, plus he has received help from Gaylor Electric and Chuck Goodrich, J.R. Gaylor, State Sen. Victoria Spartz (candidate for Fifth District Congress) and the Spartz family, Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt, county employee Steve Wood, Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana, Ivy Tech of Noblesville and Bill Keevern. Most recently, Feeding Families and Mark and Lisa Hall were sponsors, among others, of the Wafford Outdoor Theatre drive-in movie series, which ended last Friday at the Fairgrounds.
For 11 years, Hall’s companies, Tech Trades, PinPoint Resources and TalentLogistiX, used a percentage of sales to purchase groceries for Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis. But as the Halls looked at 2020, they felt the need to do something in Hamilton County.
Feeding Families Hamilton County was born with the creation of outdoor free food pantries. These pantries are painted bright red and feature bright yellow doors and are easily visible at their eight locations.
Besides pantries at the 4-H Fairgrounds, Noblesville Schools Educational Services Center, Pizza House, Noblesville Moose Lodge and at Chapel Church, other pantry locations are at Hamilton Heights School Corp. in Arcadia, Miller's Auto Body on South 10th Street in Noblesville and Morse Beach in front of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge.
For more information about future locations and how folks can donate nonperishables, visit Feeding Families Hamilton County on Facebook. If you donate pet foods to the pantry, please place it in the bottom shelf of the pantry.
“I want to remind everybody that the pantries, especially this time of the year, are set for nonperishables,” Mark Hall said. “We’re so grateful for all of the contributions, but things like blocks of cheese and pies don’t really fit in a non-perishable pantry … Bread works good for a few days, but if it doesn’t turn over, it must be removed.”
Mark Hall showed a half-eaten jar of peanut butter in one of the pantries. While he encourages the donation of sealed jars of peanut butter, which is nonperishable, he asks that folks not leave open containers of food in the pantries. I don’t think that he was sure if the peanut butter was open before it was donated or if someone came in and ate the peanut butter from the jar and left the half-eaten container, which had to be discarded.
While the Halls encourage nonperishable donations to be placed in the pantries, they check the pantry stock regularly and refill any pantries that are low on inventory.
He said, “Remember, if you’re hungry, and you need food, take what you need. If you have extra, please give what you can.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@the