When our neighbors are struggling, the Food Bank is there – every day of the year. Our efficient work and network of community partners means that we are uniquely prepared to respond to crises. Thanks in part to our generous donors, we have a proud history of supporting our neighbors as they prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters of all types.
With our community in the grips of COVID-19, we are adjusting our operations to meet the increased needs of today while preparing for continued challenges in the weeks and months to come. The situation is changing rapidly. We anticipate that the continued spread of the Coronavirus will result in, at least, a 50 percent increase in demand above the 6.1 million pounds of food distributed by the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and our partner agencies last year. Over a 12-week period, that translates to approximately $140,000 of additional funding required to meet the need.
For the approximately 100,000 of our neighbors who are already facing food insecurity, being quarantined means the very real danger of lost wages, further difficulty accessing enough food, and an increased reliance on food banks to fill their plates. With school closures, job disruptions, lack of paid sick leave and the health threat’s disproportionate impact on the elderly and limited-income families, we know that number is growing daily. To meet the evolving and increasing need, we have had to immediately alter our business operations due to drastic declines in retail food donations, social distancing limitations on volunteer efforts, and the need for low-contact distributions.
We are working hard to reach everyone in need, but we need your help. Over the next several weeks, we are estimating the need for an additional $43,500 monthly to address the demand. We are also still continuing to provide food assistance through our 2 of our regular programs:
- Mobile Market Food Distributions – three times weekly at the Food Bank and various locations throughout Lake and Porter Counties
- CSFP – State of Indiana funded program providing 1400 low income seniors with a monthly box of groceries
We are budgeting for the following costs to add new and increased emergency assistance resources and services:
- Senior Food Box Deliveries to seniors at highest risk, shut in, lack transportation, or don’t qualify for any type of government assistance. (100 boxes per week): $8,000/month
- Increased Drive Thru Mobile Market Food Distributions with up to 50 pounds of groceries for 250-550 individuals/families (3-4 times/week): $4,500/month
- School Site Mini Mobile Market Distributions targeting families with children who were on free/reduced lunch, the backpack program, etc.: $2,000/month
- Targeted Mobile Market Food Distributions for Displaced/Unemployed Individuals in the restaurant, hospitality, and retail industry who are experiencing an immediate loss of income, providing up to 50 pounds of groceries for approximately 100 individuals/families (1-2 times/week): $4,500/month
- Mini Mobile Market Distributions with 2-3 bulk items for up to 250 individuals/families (2-3 times/week): $3,000/month
- Boxes and packaging for increased emergency food boxes: $10,000/month
- Temporary driver, warehouse worker, project manager staffing for new programming demands, deliveries, food procurement, and deliveries during the crisis: $6,000/month
- Supplies for cleaning, disinfecting and increased food safety efforts: $5,000/month
We know these numbers will continue to increase as the situation evolves. We are grateful to our community partners, foundation partners, corporate partners, donors, and friends who have already shown tremendous support to help us feed our community during this unprecedented time.