SOUTH BEND – A line started forming outside of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana at least an hour before the doors opened on Thursday in South Bend. Adults and kids waited patiently for volunteers to open the doors and let them in to fill their grocery carts with food for their families.
This food need only seems to be growing with time in Michiana. "The need grows every single year. Our need is up 50 percent need this year over last year,” said Food Bank Executive Director Milt Lee.
Now the Food Bank may even feel more of a strain on their shelves.
The Angel Food Ministries announced its shutting down nationwide. The organization provided discounted food packages that they distributed locally.
“At this time we regret to inform you that we have not found a solution that will allow Angel Food Ministries to continue to distribute food on a monthly basis and have decided to cease operations. We realize the pressure that this places on our host sites, community food banks and customers,” according to the Angel Food Ministries website.
Lee agrees that local pantries will see an impact on their services."Those people have to have some place to go resources and nutritious food. So it’s going to put a lot more pressure on other smaller agencies to find a way to help those people,” said Lee.
Of course the closure is affecting the churches that were helping to distribute the food.
"We’re disappointed to know we're at this place and yet totally understandable. They're being affected by the economy, just like every individual is,” said First Baptist Church Pastor Janell Bloem.
The First Baptist Church of South Bend in partnership with the First Brethren Church distributed food once a month from its location on Ironwood.
The church said they know the food need is still strong in the area, so they hope they can still help.
“We are hoping that they will reopen and this has been something that we really enjoyed doing together as a congregation and felt like we were meeting a very great need,” said Bloem.