Anderson Foundation donates $600,000 to fight hunger in Northwest Indiana

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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.

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