For Hoosier Hills Food Bank, 2018 was a “grand slam” year.

“We made history in the fight against hunger,” Jake Bruner, the food bank’s director of development and administration, said Friday at the local agency’s annual meeting.

The food bank distributed a record-setting 4,876,808 pounds of food, including 1,269,963 pounds of fresh produce, last year. The total exceeded 2017’s volume by more than 653,349 pounds — a 15 percent increase. It also was roughly a 9 percent increase over the previous record year, 2016.

The local food bank distributes food to various agencies in Monroe, Brown, Lawrence, Orange, Owen and Martin counties. Monroe County received the lion’s share of the total food distributed in 2018 at 2,607,932 pounds. Lawrence County was second at 797,032 pounds.

Julio Alonso, executive director and CEO of Hoosier Hills Food Bank, said over the past 10 years, the amount of food distributed has grown from around 2.4 million to 4.8 million. Kevin Robling, president of the food bank’s board of directors, said the work the food bank does is great, but it is one that ideally the hope is someone would never have to do.

Despite the record distribution in 2018, Alonso said there are still many families throughout the community that need food. He said the agencies the food bank serves can still use more food donations and the challenge of fighting hunger in the community is ongoing.

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