The luncheon was one small way to show appreciation to the volunteers staffing these food pantries.
"This group of people is making a dramatic difference in people's lives," Hamilton said.
The coalition, which is managed through the Purdue Cooperative Extension Office of Hendricks County, was formed to pool resources and expertise. A member of Hamilton's church recently donated a pole barn where the pantries can store excess supplies.
"So if the Hazelwood food pantry needs help, we have the resources to restock them," Hamilton said. "The pole barn has changed what we do dramatically."
Not that there's much left over. Individual donations are appreciated, but the coalition is trying to find more corporate partners that can provide supplies in bulk.
"We all struggle," Hamilton said. "This year has been especially hard. Some pantries were open twice a month, but because of demand they can only be open once a month now. They can't keep their shelves stocked."
That's forcing many volunteers to be logistics specialists.
"We're taking people that have been nurses, mechanics - all these different occupations - and asked them to strategically plan how to get stuff to people," Hamilton said. "It's not their normal job. They've had to think outside the box and find a way to make it work. That's the great thing about the coalition. We're learning from each other."
Not every food pantry in the county has been willing to join. The top reason seems to be a fear of having to adhere to outside rules. Hamilton says it's not their intention to tell anyone what to do.
"They run it as they see fit," he said. "We're only showing them what has worked for other pantries. We want to help everyone run more efficiently, and therefore feed more people."