A partnership of community foundations and United Ways in Lake and Porter counties will receive $600,000 from the John W. Anderson Foundation to strengthen hunger relief efforts in Northwest Indiana. Legacy Foundation, Lake Area United Way, Porter County Community Foundation and United Way of Porter County are working together to better coordinate food distribution and maximize the food purchasing power of local pantries and back pack feeding programs.
“We are thankful to the Anderson Foundation for recognizing the urgent need to address food insecurity in our communities. Through this partnership, we are able to work across county lines to make it easier for families to get food when they need it,” said Legacy Foundation President & CEO, Carolyn Saxton.
The grant will fund food distribution efforts in the two counties, including a staff position that will work with local food pantries to serve 15,000 households and help back pack feeding programs provide nutritious weekend meals to 550 students for a school year. Homebound individuals needing food will benefit from increased food delivery routes and subsidies for fees.
“This collaboration aims to focus significant attention and resources on one of the most pressing issues facing Lake and Porter counties. We appreciate the generosity of the Anderson Foundation and are confident that progress will be made toward alleviating hunger in our communities,” said Bill Higbie, President & CEO of Porter County Community Foundation.
The following organizations will receive a portion of funding from the grant to enhance their food distribution efforts:
- The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana
- Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana
- VNA of Northwest Indiana
“It’s exciting to change the system, to make our community more effective in fighting hunger,” said Lisa Daugherty, President and CEO of Lake Area United Way.
The program aims to address systemic issues that impact hunger relief efforts, such as helping volunteer groups schedule out food distribution times to avoid having multiple sites in the same neighborhood on the same day. By forming the Northwest Indiana Hunger Coalition churches, pantries, townships, volunteer organizations, and individuals will work together to develop strategies to address the root causes of food insecurity.
“Hunger is an issue that touches everyone. With the rise of unemployment due to COVID-19, families have been forced, many who have never needed assistance before, to seek support for food and housing needs,” said Kim Olesker, president & CEO of United Way of Porter County. “This partnership creates a relationship between philanthropic organizations and direct service providers who are committed to ongoing efforts to identify and address food insecurity.”
Through this grant, the Food Bank will be making $300,000 in credits available for local pantry and back pack feeding programs to purchase food at bulk and low-cost pricing. Pantries and back pack feeding programs can contact the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana (219) 980-1777 to find out more information.