New Food Bank Director Gets Ready For A User Education Campaign
The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana named Arleen Peterson last week as its new executive officer. Peterson is not new to the non-profit sector, having spent much of her career working as a community organizer and advocate. She replaces Angie Williams, who was food bank director for seven years. The Lakeshore’s Denise Turner sat down with Peterson on Tuesday and asked her how the food bank impacts the community….
Arleen Peterson took her post at the Gary Food Bank in northwest Indiana just five days ago. She says there’s a lot to learn but she’s up for the challenge.
Arleen Peterson: I think the biggest need is always being able to have more meals for our families.
The food bank distributes food to agencies who serve residents living in Lake and Porter Counties.
Peterson: A lot of it goes to our agencies, our agencies are key to ensure that families, locally in their local neighbors have access to the food and resources that they need.
Denise Turner: To make an impact in the community, the food bank needs 25 million pounds of food a year. Currently they distribute 4.9. Peterson says the food bank mainly relies on the federal government and partners to support the five thousand people they feed a week.
Peterson: When it comes to funding and donations and support for every dollar we receive, we are able to put three meals on the table before a family in our community in Lake and Porter counties.
Peterson says she hopes to take the depository into a new direction in the near future. She wants to add an education program to give families tools about food and nutrition.
Peterson: We really want to figure out a way to bring some more educational components to our families so that they can learn to prepare you know, even healthier meals.
Peterson’s plans to educate clients and feed them … but said those are just the first steps. In Gary, Denise Turner, Lakeshore News.