La Porte County food bank helps community with more than food

Center Township Trustee Lisa Pierzakowski wants to help as many people in her community as possible. 

Because of this, Pierzakowski has opened the Center Township Food Pantry & Resource Center in La Porte County. 

"We were finding that people weren't getting all the help that they needed to get," Pierzakowski said. 

The center opened in June and had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday evening to officially celebrate its opening. 

But unlike most food pantries, the Center Township Resource Center helps out community members in numerous ways. 

"We don't just do food," Center Twp. Food Pantry & Resource Center Director Christy Tapia said. "We help with resumes, job applications, applying for food stamps, applying for Medicaid, government phones." 

Tapia has been director for the past few months and said Pierzakowski and her staff helped her through her own rough time. 

"I came into the trustee's office because I couldn't pay my electric bill," Tapia said. "They talked to me, they found out what my situation was and they treat each person like an individual." 

Tapia had been a housewife for 20 years and was newly divorced - she needed a job. She started to volunteer at the resource center when it opened. 

"Before I could even put in my first application they asked me to come work full time at the center," Tapia said. 

Pierzakowski said the goal of the center is to offer people multiple forms of help in one location because many community members who are in need do not have a vehicle to drive from location to location.

"So by having everything right in one building they're able to get everything they need right here," Pierzakowski said. 

As more people come into the center each month on Lincolnway Place, Pierzakowski said they are recognizing the advantages. She said one weekly visitor describes the center as "the one-stop-shop center."

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