Volunteers helping community through Northwest Indiana food bank


MERRILLVILLE, Ind. — As costs at grocery stores rise, food banks across the country are seeing more families struggling to make ends meet.

In an effort to help, volunteers spent Wednesday afternoon sorting food at the Northwest Indiana Food Bank.

Employees from Hammond Horseshoe Casino were busy packing boxes for the food bank to help cut back on food insecurity this holiday season.

The group of employees from the casino come to the food bank to lend a hand every couple of months.

“I enjoy it,” Monica Goynes said. “It’s fun to me.”

On Wednesday, the group packed 155 boxes filled with healthy and nutritious food for the commodity supplemental food program.

“We hold the largest CSFP program in the state of Indiana, serving around 1,700 seniors every month, year-round,” Victor Garcia, the president and CEO of the food bank, said.

As inflation causes a spike in food costs, nationally some food banks and charities are seeing higher levels of food insecurity.

Garcia said the food bank is serving between 40 to 50,000 people each month.

“Without our volunteers and our agency network, we would not be able to do the work that we do day in and day out,” Garcia said.

Along with volunteering their time, the Horseshoe Hammond Team presented the food bank with more than $10,000 and about 700 cans of food.

“The more that we can give, especially in challenging times with inflation and food costs soaring, it makes us feel really good to be able to do this,” Julie Vasic said.

The casino makes up about 6 to 7,000 volunteers who support the food bank each year.

Goynes said whether it’s your time or your money, however you can help out is valuable and makes a difference.

The food bank is looking for more volunteers.

“If you don’t have the money to do it, donate your time,” Goynes said. “It’s just as great.”

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