The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana has been providing critical food assistance to individuals and families in need since 1982, and is the only food bank serving Lake and Porter counties.
The idea for the Food Bank in Northwest Indiana was born in 1981 when two local United Way and Steel Worker representatives at a conference in Indianapolis learned about how a food bank could positively impact their community. They were so inspired that they brought the idea back home to the Region and, within a year, the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana was established.
At first the Food Bank was only distributing salvaged food, but in 1989 the organization began obtaining food donations from food suppliers and retailers. This was also the year that the Food Bank’s Board of Directors were faced with the very real and very difficult decision of closing the doors for good due to poor economic conditions. The community recognized the negative effects this action would have and rallied together in protest and action. Thanks to generous financial support from Strack & Van Til’s and other community partners, the Food Bank was able to remain open and has been fighting hunger and feeding hope ever since.
For years the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana operated out of a 12,000 square foot barn that had been re-purposed to act as a distribution facility, but in 2018 the Food Bank moved into its new home—a larger, more efficient food distribution facility in Merrillville. This move marked a new chapter for the organization and was a turning point in its ability to address hunger and impact the Northwest Indiana community in meaningful and sustainable ways.
The Food Bank acquires, stores, and distributes more than 7 million pounds of food across Lake and Porter counties every year. Through its network of 110+ partner agencies, mobile food distributions, and direct service programs for seniors, adults, youth and families, the Food Bank gives provides and hunger relief to nearly 25,000 people each month.
The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization and a powerful and efficient network of 200 food banks across the country. As food insecurity rates hold steady at the highest levels ever, the Feeding America network of food banks has risen to meet the need. To learn more about Feeding America, visit feedingamerica.org.