On September 27, 2022, the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana announced that it is granting $425,000 to Families Anchored in Total Harmony, Inc. (Faith CDC). Thanks to the support of the Feeding in America Food Security Equity Fund, these critical dollars will be used for program expansion and the creation of a freezing operation to extend the life of fresh produce grown on Faith CDC’s urban farm located at 656 Carolina in Gary.
A host of community leaders, elected officials, volunteers and supporters gathered at the farm for the grant announcement. Pastor Curtis Whittaker, founder and visionary of Faith CDC, grew up only blocks away from the farm. He expressed his gratitude and excitement over the plans for the innovative expansion of the food security and preservation program.
The partnership with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana will allow the work to address the root causes of hunger and food insecurity in Northwest Indiana to move forward by developing solutions to improve food insecurity and to create a more just food system.
“This is God’s vision for us, and it is a faith movement,” said Whittaker. “Because of tremendous partners like the Food Bank of NWI, Feeding America, the Legacy Foundation, Indiana University and several others, we have been able to grow and even employ young people during the summer. Today, we celebrate, but tomorrow we go to work because we have a lot to do to make our vision become a reality. I am thankful for the volunteers who have put their feet where their faith is and are walking this out with me, and we are not done yet.”
Whittaker went on to share that the funds will be used to renovate the property at 576 Carolina St. where the equipment for the flash freezing process will be housed.
With every award from the Food Security Equity Impact Fund, a minimum of 85 percent of awarded dollars are allocated to community partners, purposefully driving resources to organizations with historical barriers to access funding, led by and serving people of color.
“We are grateful for this unique collaboration with Faith Farms,” said Victor Garcia, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. “It is a project rooted in the community, led by those of the community, to benefit neighbors of this community in Gary. Partnering with Pastor Whittaker and this urban farm is a partnership that ties us to what growers are doing right here in Lake County.
“It is critical that we work alongside this driven team and support their efforts by leveraging resources to which we have access. With this investment, we are building upon the strength of our area to provide for its people. We look forward to the expanded ability to source locally grown produce due to this freezing and to share this harvest with our neighbors struggling with food insecurity.”
Ami L. McReynolds of Feeding America attended the ceremony and extended her well wishes for the partnership.
The following elected officials were also on hand to express sentiments of support:
U.S. Congressman Frank J. Mrvan, State Senator Eddie Melton, State Representative Mike Andrade, State Representative Dr. Vernon G. Smith, Gary Mayor Jerome Prince, Calumet Township Trustee Kimberly K. Robinson, Gary City Council President William Godwin, Lake County Councilman Charlie Brown, and Lake County Assessor LaTonya Spearman.
The event concluded with officials planting seeds to officially launch the project expansion. The full ceremony can be viewed on the Faith CDC Facebook page.
For more information about the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, visit foodbanknwi.org.