Food Bank of Northwest Indiana Fights Childhood Hunger with Mobile Marketplace in Schools

In 2018, the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana Mobile Marketplace began visiting area schools and after-school programs to better address childhood hunger and provide more complete food assistance to working families with schoolchildren. The mobile food distribution program has traveled to a different community almost every week for the past seven years, providing food assistance to as many as 250 families some weeks.

“Between growing food deserts, a lack of reliable transportation and

Students and families from Lake Station schools visit an after-school Mobile Marketplace.

financial limitations, many families in Northwest Indiana face numerous obstacles to accessing good, nutritious food,” said Steve Beekman, executive director of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. “Taking Mobile Marketplace to schools means more of these families with schoolchildren will have access to critical nutrition assistance.”

Mobile Marketplace is available to all Northwest Indiana residents in need of food assistance. In addition to weekly community sites, the Food Bank will partner with school-based and after school Mobile Marketplace sites to make the resource available to children and families within the schools and communities served. Each distribution may include fresh fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, canned goods, and other grocery items.

Four school/after-school sites have signed on to host Mobile Marketplace in 2018, and the Food Bank hopes to increase that number in the new year. Each distribution can provide up to 30 pounds of nutritious food and groceries to 100-300 families.

“For years we have looked to the BackPack Program to support childhood hunger during the school year, which provides critical assistance to about 250 children each weekend during the school year,” said Beekman. “What we’re learning is that BackPack serves as a great supplement for these kids, but doesn’t provide enough food assistance to entire families. That’s where Mobile Marketplace can step in and have a huge impact for these schoolchildren and their families.”

Mobile Marketplace is made possible in part thanks to local donors and partners, including Legacy Foundation, Glick Philanthropies, and International Paper Foundation.

For more information and an up-to-date schedule, visit