Holiday Heroes: South Bend Police Department food pantry

ABC57's Holiday Heroes series returns to shine a light on the South Bend Police Department and the food pantry started by the officers themselves, providing help to those in need.

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Eight years ago, officers from the South Bend Police Department took the initiative to address an issue they noticed while working the midnight shift.

"So, the midnight shift came up with this idea to start a small little food pantry, and to use the food for, you know, people that when they come across certain scenarios that may be in great need," said Officer Joshua Morgan.

There are times cops come in contact with neighbors in need of food or basic necessities.

"We have diapers. We have, you know, things for small children. Right behind me," said Morgan. "We do have stuff for babies for, like I said, the formula."

The pantry is available 24/7, allowing officers on every shift to help people struggling to keep their own fridges and cabinets stocked and their families fed.

"If officers come across certain situations in which they feel that, hey, you know, maybe this, this child hasn't had something to eat all day," said Morgan. "I think all three shifts utilize it differently. But primarily, when the store, start to close, is when we really need access to food. And we use it for emergency situations."

Morgan says this is a short-term solution but SBPD helps to connect residents with other resources long-term.

"Every situation is different, you know, if it's a domestic violence situation, it might be the YWCA, if it's something where you're just not making it paycheck to paycheck, because the economy's terrible right now, it might be the Northern Indiana Food Bank," said Morgan. "So, you know, if it's something where you don't have housing, maybe that's the homeless shelter or, or the Salvation Army."

Morgan calls the pantry a win-win for the department and the community because it gives officers an opportunity to build bonds and make a difference in the lives of those they serve.

"There's a dire need," said Morgan. "You know, people have to eat. If you don't eat, then some very obviously health benefits or some negative health effects can happen. Even death, people can starve. So, we obviously don't want to see that happen."

If you'd like to help out the food pantry, you can drop off donations in the lobby of the South Bend Police Department anytime.

They also accept grocery store gift cards to pay for products that go right back into the pantry.

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