Food Bank of Northern Indiana gears up for annual food drive
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Food Bank of Northern Indiana is getting ready for its biggest food drive of the year.
The donations collected on Saturday, May 11 during the 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will help the Food Bank of Northern Indiana feed hundreds of families this summer.
The National Association of Letter Carriers started the national food drive 27 years ago.
“The need is really high during the summer and food donations are really low,” said Food Bank of Northern Indiana Executive Director Marijo Martinec.
Martinec says they hope to collect 100,000 lbs of food this year. More than 37,000 people in St. Joseph County live in food insecure household.
“We distribute around 7.2 million pounds of food each year or about 22,000 pounds each day that we’re in operation,” said Martinec. “If you do the math, you know, it’s not a long time, but it really helps with the other resources that we will have so this is a very very important drive for us.”
If every household in the county donated three non-perishable items, the Food Bank says that would exceed its goal.
“Lots of people continue to go hungry in our communities,” said Martinec. “A lot of people have seasonal work, kids are off of school during the summer, people who are on those summer feeding programs, or those school programs may not get food during the summer so this is really just an important drive.”
“There’s so many people that’s needy for food,” said food bank recipient Elizabeth Ricks.
Ricks and Dixie Hamilton, another recipient, say they would have to make difficult choices like whether to buy groceries or pay bills without the assistance.
“It helps me to save some money which I couldn’t do before and it just makes life easier,” said Hamilton. “I have pets so it goes to care for them. I also have quite a few girlfriends here that i grew up with and we try to get together as often as we can and that helps that i’m able to go out now and then.”
“A lot of times after I pay the bills there’s hardly anything left for food,” said Ricks. “You know food is expensive, very expensive and it really helps to make up the difference, it really helps to put food on the table.”
They want people to understand the donations make a difference in people’s lives.
“We’re all on medication so you kind of go is it groceries or is it your medication you gotta pay for this month and this really helps,” said Hamilton.
“It gets difficult a lot of times when you’re living from check to check and i really appreciate that they’re here,” said Ricks. “They’ve done wonders for me and my family and we really appreciate the donations because a lot of times things get a little rough and you know it really comes in handy.”
People interested in donating should place a sturdy bag full of non-perishable items next to their mailbox by 8 a.m. on Saturday.
If residents will not be home on Saturday, they can drop off their donation at any postal branch retail counter before the drive. In addition, orange Food Bank food drive collection barrels will be located at Martin’s Super Markets locations in South Bend, Mishawaka and Granger, the week of May 6, to collect donations.
Most needed items include:
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Box Dinners (Lasagna, Beef Pasta and Cheeseburger)
Macaroni and Cheese
Pancake Mix and Syrup
Canned Chicken and Tuna
Canned Beef Stew
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Personal Care Items (toilet paper, bar soap, tooth brushes, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, etc.)
Baby Items (shampoo, wipes, bath wash, lotion, etc.)
Cleaning Supplies (laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, etc.)