Hunger Action Day pushing folks to make a difference in their community

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 4:16 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - We’re helping spread the word about helping our hungry friends and neighbors during Hunger Action Awareness Day.

We’re right in the middle of Hunger Action Awareness Month which started back in 2008 to get the word out about how you can help people in our community experiencing food insecurity.

The Food Bank of Northern Indiana is where a lot the impact happens in Michiana.

Volunteers by far outweigh the full-time employees here so they really rely on groups of people who can offer their time to pack boxes, sort donations, and load cars with food.

If you have a busy schedule, you can still help by making donations. Most people know what nonperishable items are good to donate, but you may not know that they’re in high need of low sodium and low sugar foods.

This is a great cause to support because food insecurity can impact anyone at any time.

“These are people who look a lot like us. They can be a coworker. They can be a neighbor. They can be someone you know from an organization. We really need to lift people up and food is such a basic necessity,” said Food Bank of Northern Indiana Executive Director Marijo Martinec.

You can go beyond that by being an organizer for your circle.

The folks here are happy to partner up with your workplace or business to host food drives to bring in more donations for the growing population of those in need.

You can also speak up to your local elected officials to have them stop by a food pantry so they can get a first-hand look at what hunger looks like for the people they serve.

The need for this resource is growing, but unfortunately, donations have slowed down since COVID-19 resources stopped.

“The services, the donations, the programs that were supporting people, that all ended, but the need has increased, so we’re actually doing more now with less,” Martinec said.

Some of the people who need these meals pick them up right from the Food Bank, but there are countless others in the six different counties the food bank serves that get their food from their mobile food pantries, or from other food resource centers in their area that all pick up right here in South Bend.

They also deploy their mobile food bank truck to get meals to folks living in Starke, LaPorte, Marshall, Elkhart, and Kosciusko Counties too.

“We separate it and we have it in different areas of our building so we know when people come into shop our other agencies they go to that room and shop for their county,” said warehouse manager Oscar Gibson.

The Food Bank of Northern Indiana is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.