As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Governor Eric Holcomb has deployed the Indiana National Guard to help six food banks address the growing need for food assistance.
“The food banks are in Marion County (2), Bloomington, Lafayette, Fort Wayne & Merrillville. The Indiana National Guard will work at mobile food distribution sites across the State”, said Governor Holcomb.
Today, the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana welcomed 12 troops to support increased emergency assistance operations, working alongside staff, and filling critical volunteer roles. The Guard will work with staff during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm, with a few of the members alternating weekends.
The humanitarian mission comes as the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana has added several new programs to meet the increased need and experienced a 60% decline in volunteer support amid restrictions due to required safety precautions. The goal is to increase the amount of prepackaged food and drive through mobile distributions to the people who need it most.
“Everyone is home; the recently unemployed, the children on free/reduced lunch programs, seniors, everyone”, said Victor A. Garcia, Executive Director. “We are transitioning our operations to address the need in the safest way possible.”
The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana is rolling out:
- Senior Food Box Deliveries to seniors that are at highest risk, shut in, lack transportation, or don’t qualify for any type of government assistance.
- Drive Thru Only Mobile Market Food Distributions
- School Site Mini Mobile Market Distributions for families with children who were on free/reduced lunch
- Targeted Mobile Market Food Distributions for Displaced/Unemployed Individuals in hospitality, retail, etc.
- Mini Mobile Market Distributions with several bulk items
“Thank you to the State of Indiana and Governor Holcomb for responding quickly to the crisis, as well as our donors, partners, and friends who are rallying together to provide the resources necessary to help us creatively and safely meet the increased need for food assistance. There is no way we could do this on our own”, said Garcia.
The Food Bank is working closely with the Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, Feeding America, and a host of community and corporate partners to continue to address the evolving needs in the community.