Your NPR news source

Food Pantry In Gary Sees Surge In Demand

SHARE Food Pantry In Gary Sees Surge In Demand

As gas and food prices continue to climb, more people are struggling to make ends meet. Even some families considered to be middle class are finding it hard to put food on the table.

Angie Williams sorts through crates and crates of food, from canned goods to vegetables, stacked in a 13,000-square-foot warehouse owned by the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana in Gary.

Much of this food has been donated by local grocers. But more and more of it is being purchased by the Food Bank from local warehouse stores, like Sam’s Club or Costco, to meet the demand.

WILLIAMS: My worry and what sometimes keeps me up at night is there’s not enough food. The need was already growing last year or the last couple of months all across the country not just Northwest Indiana, especially now that gas has already hit $4 a gallon, those low income families, they’re not eating because they’re trying to put gas in their tank to get to work.

The Food Bank provides more than a million pounds of food to dozens of not-for-profit groups that feed the hungry; places like soup kitchens, pantries, daycare providers and homeless shelters in Lake and Porter counties.

Williams, who heads the Food Bank, says she’s is now getting calls from those in higher-income communities in Northwest Indiana.

WILLIAMS: People saying, ‘I used to be the one donating to the Food Bank now I need help. How do I get services?

America’s Second Harvest, which the Food Bank is a part of, says 180 of its food banks nationwide are reporting a 15 to 20 percent increase on average in the number of people turning to them for assistance compared to a year ago.

At the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which serves Cook County, demand is up 12 percent this year from last year.

The Latest