TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — As the world works to fight COVID-19, Food Banks across the nation are also still working to fight hunger.
Governor Eric Holcomb announced the deployment of Indiana National Guard members to help food banks across the state. Since they've arrived in Tippecanoe County, Food Finders CEO Katy Bunder said it's made all the difference.
“This is the way that we're trying to safely get food to all of the people that depend on Food Finders,” said Bunder.
Food Finders Food Bank has transitioned to a drive-through method. While it was designed to be a way to practice social distancing, that goal became difficult without enough volunteers.
“We had cars that were overheating because the line moved so slowly,” said Bunder. “We've really worked hard to get this to be an efficient process and having the National Guard really makes it more efficient.”
“We're motivated, we're ready to go, we're ready to get those boxes filled and out to the people,” said Sergeant Monicca Werntz with the Indiana National Guard. “We know that the more that we have, the more that we can give out,” added Specialist Joshua Graham.
Bunder said this is only the beginning, so having these extra hands on deck is crucial.
“I think we're in this for the long hall and it's going to be quite a while, several months probably before we're back to normal,” said Bunder.
Each family gets a 40-pound box of groceries. Inside are both perishable and non-perishable products to keep families afloat during this extended stay-at-home-order.
“It's really important that people get good nutrition so that they can fight off the exposure that they may have to this virus,” said Bunder.
Those giving back to the community say it's important we come together now more than ever.
“It's just to make sure that people who are having to stay home for breakfast, lunch, and dinner have the food in their homes,” said Bunder.
“We're here to help you along this rough time because we all feel it as well, with our families back home so we're just here to help as much as we can,” said Graham.
Bunder says the community has really stepped up with donating and helping their pantry stocked. She encourages the community to continue donating in order to help feed the surplus in families they're currently serving.
To practice social distancing, Bunder is suggesting drivers pop their trunks so that the Food Finders volunteers can put the food right inside. If you do not have a trunk, you're asked to either put the goods in the car yourself or bring someone who can put the goods in the car for you.
The drive-through station is located at Linwood Elementary School at 1415 Ball Street in Lafayette.
Hours of operation are generally Tuesdays and Fridays:
Friday, April 3 from 1 pm – 4 pm
Tuesday, April 7 from 1 pm – 4 pm
Thursday, April 9 from 1 pm – 4 pm (Operating on Thursday only for this week because of Good Friday)
Tuesday, April 14 from 1 pm – 4 pm
Friday, April 17 from 1 pm – 4 pm
More dates may become available.