First Posted: 9/24/2012 9:03:33 AM | Last Updated: 10/8/2012 4:55:28 PM
LAFAYETTE – Feeding the hungry is a full time business for Food Finders Food Bank.
While schools, organizations and businesses hold food drives that last anywhere from several weeks to months, for Food Finders, it’s a mission and a passion to feed the hungry in the Greater Lafayette area.
The upcoming “Drive Away Hunger” campaign is designed to keep Food Finders stocked through the Christmas season, it’s also another step in the ongoing – and increasing – mission to help families with children struggling through the slow economy, unemployment and poverty.
“We face a lot of challenges,” said Amy Gaulke, volunteer coordinator and marketing assistant for Food Finders. “It’s a really difficult economy. We’re not getting as much salvaged food from stores, which means we have to purchase a lot more food. Due to the increase in unemployment and poverty, there is a need to bring in more food.”
Food Finders Food Bank has been providing agencies in 16 counties with food for the hungry since 1981. Food Finders distributes more than six million pounds of food annually to a network of nonprofit organizations. That food has proven critical in serving people who are “food insecure.”
“What food insecurity is when people are choosing between food and other life necessities,” Gaulke said. “There are some 87,000 people in our service area who are food insecure. They are decided between paying for food or paying for rent; or paying for food or putting gas in their car and not knowing if they will be able to put food on the table.
The upcoming Drive Away Hunger, which will run from Oct. 25-Nov. 30, will be supported by various community food drives. Gaulke said the food bank recently sent out letters to schools, organizations and businesses asking for their support. Purdue University also will host its campus-side Fall Harvest.
“That will allow us to have plenty of food here through the fall and a little bit of the winter,”Gaulke said. “It’s critical for us to get food in here. It would be nice if the entire community would do a food drive for us.”
Gaulke said Food Finders hopes to receive enough food for 150,000 meals, of 120,000 pounds. She said Food Finders will also receive funds from another successful Hunger Hike in mid-September.
Gaulke said she is grateful for the some 1,000 volunteers that assist Food Finders throughout the year. But as hunger continues to be a major problem in Tippecanoe County and Indiana, Food Finders will always look toward its next drive.