Food Bank of Northern Indiana hosts drive-thru distribution drive
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The Food Bank of Northern Indiana is adapting to the outbreak by using a new drive-thru food distribution method as a bonus to the regular food pantry to ensure people in the community have food on their plates.
“This is our new normal,” Marijo Martinec said, Executive Director, CEO, Food Bank of Northern Indiana.
The organization ramped up its services on Thursday with its second drive-thru distribution.
“What people do is they just drive up and we’re giving them pre-boxed, pre-bagged items putting that in the trunk of their car and sending them on their way,” Martinec said.
Volunteers are taking the proper precautions to limit contact.
“Our people are wearing gloves and masks and just trying to keep everything safe for everyone who is involved in the process,” Martinec said.
The Food Bank of Northern Indiana has seen a 50-75% increase in the number of people coming out. The organization served a total of 221 households in just two hours on Thursday.
Martinec said she expects that number to rise through the shutdown, but that is exactly what they are there for.
“We know that there are lots of people in our community who are struggling,” Martinec said. “So again, if you’re in need of food assistance please make use of these services.”
The Food Bank of Northern Indiana is just one resource in the Michiana area that is taking steps to make sure people in the community do not go without food on the table.
Each pre-packaged bag comes packed full of nutritious food items for the entire family.
“Canned vegetables, canned fruits, I think there’s pasta or rice in the bags, just a variety of items…shelf-stable items,” Martinec said.
Items such as meat or produce are also available. The goal is to help people in need keep their pantries stocked.
State legislators David Niezgodski and Ross Deal volunteered on Thursday as well.
“I’m just very grateful to be able to play a role in this again,” Senator David Niezgodski said, Senate District 10. “I just think that everyone needs to do their part in the best way in the best way they are because there are going to be so many people in need and we just want to do our best to help them.”
“They’re so very appreciative and honestly, I think that you leave here getting more out of it than what you gave,” State Representative Ross Deal said, House District 7.
The Food Bank of Northern Indiana will continue to hold drive-thru distribution sites every week, serving six Michiana counties.
The regular pantry is still operating as usual, but is providing pre-boxed goods instead. People can pick up food from the regular pantry once every 30 days, but can pick up food from the drive-thru site once a week.
For The Food Bank of Northern Indiana's Facebook page, click here.