Lakeshore News Tonight

Food Bank Serves Region’s Holiday Meal Needs

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December 23, 2013 — By Hilary Powell

Nearly 6,000 people in Northwest Indiana seek emergency food aid in any given week, and support services experts say that need rises when temperatures drop.

One local organization is supplying the gift of food this season, because being home for the holidays means being hungry for thousands of families in Northwest Indiana.

Arleen Peterson is Food Bank of Northwest Indiana’s Executive Director.  She says,  “I think the big thing that people need to understand about hunger is that it affects so many.  It affects your neighbor.  It affects your coworker.  It affects friends, and people are not understanding that you just never know.”

Canned goods and groceries dotted the banquet hall at the Genesis Center in Gary for the Food Bank’s annual holiday “Pantry On The Go.”

Peterson says every dollar donated from the public adds up to help others during the holiday season,  “About 60% of food is food that we purchase.  So, for that dollar that people are able to give to us, we’re able to provide five meals for families.”

For 20-year-old volunteer Eddie Washington, the joy is in giving rather than receiving,  “I’m volunteering today to give back to the community, and I feel it is important that everyone should have someone to lean on and when times are hard, just to know that people are always out there for them.”

At the food giveaway today, organizers say residents can expect to fill their bags with about ten pounds worth of goods each.”

Shavon Nelson was among the residents, some of whom toted home entire turkeys, while others were also treated to makeup kits,  “This was a very, very helpful event because, you know, it’s helping me, you know, provide for my family.  They gave out a lot of great stuff here, you know, and I’m very thankful.  Very thankful.  So, hey, I’m happy today.”

Organizers say an empty pantry at the end of the event will mean they’ve fulfilled their mission to fight hunger and feed hope.

The food bank is accepting donations for its storehouse.

It will take its “Pantry On The Go” to Valparaiso on December 30 from 3 p.m to 5 p.m, and more information is available at


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