As the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis hit in March, our team went into rapid disaster relief mode. As an essential service, Food Finders had to immediately transform our programs, respond to the increased demand and adapt to the ever-changing safety guidelines, in a matter of days.

We made it our top priority to ensure people we serve, volunteers and staff remained safe while increasing emergency food distributions throughout our 16-county service area.

With businesses, factories, restaurants and schools closed, we knew we would see an increased need for food assistance from our current clients as well as demand from new people, recently laid off. Food Finders made the decision to focus our limited resources on our three most impactful programs; our Agency Partner and Mobile Pantry programs and the J.P. Lisack Community Food Pantry. These programs serve entire families and seniors and have the greatest impact throughout the communities we serve. Additionally, Food Finders continues providing food to our BackPack Programs that are still operating. We are proud to report that 95 percent of our agency partners remained open and operating – these food pantries and soup kitchens are critical to fighting hunger on the front lines. Together, we have served nearly 66,000 families since our relief efforts began.

We are grateful for the many volunteers who continued serving at the food bank in the early weeks of COVID-19 until the Indiana National Guard was deployed to help.

We have heard from people who are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. Carla has been caring for her terminally ill father and husband. “I am the only one working in my household, but I have been laid off for more than a month with no income because our plant shutdown.” She went on say, “We are very low on food. I am behind on every monthly bill we have.”

Carla was worried about how she would pay for her family’s medicine from the pharmacy since she had not yet received an unemployment check. These are the real worries of people in our community.

Robyn shared her gratitude while waiting in the line at our drive-through pantry, “The security that Food Finders has provided to my family at this time has allowed me to not be scared whether or not I can feed my children tomorrow. With this help, I no longer have to suffer through the fear I was feeling when I would go to bed at night.”

These are uncertain times, but you have been right there with us, helping us to be a consistent, stable source of nutritious food for individuals, families, children, seniors and veterans across North Central Indiana. We do not yet know the long-term impacts of COVID-19, but thanks to your generosity, we know we will be here for people who need us.

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