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Unique food pantry in LaPorte open to anyone in need

NOW: Unique food pantry in LaPorte open to anyone in need

LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind. --- Center Township in LaPorte County began tackling food insecurities one food pantry at a time six months ago, but now they hope to take a second pantry on-the-go.

The sentimental story behind the two food pantries started with one man and an idea.

Devan Esmeyer’s grandfather started the project in collaboration with Lisa Pierzakowski with Center Township Trustee, but tragically passed away while overseas and never got to finish building the pantries.

Esmeyer, now a college student, decided to become an Eagle Scout and make the food pantry his own project in honor of his grandfather.

“It was pretty relieving,” said Devan Esmeyer. “I was pretty happy that I was able to do it and get involved with the community and realize this is a very good cause. Like now around Thanksgiving time, people need food, need something... so it’s nice having these out there for people to stop by and get them.”

One food pantry located outside of the Center Township Trustee building is stationary. The idea models the “take a book, give a book” concept and anyone with food insecurities are welcome to take food for free at any time of the day, even if a person is not in a position to put food back in return.

The stationary model launched nearly six months ago and pending city approval, a second mobile food pantry will be set up around parks and throughout the city.

Social media has been a useful tool in spreading the word, according to Pierzakowski.

“Since I’ve been posting more and more on Facebook, we have people actually come and filling it on the weekends and I mean filling it, like stuffing it full of food,” said Lisa Pierzakowski.

The area suffers from food insecurity, according to Kyleen Fuller, who owns a daycare just down the street.

Fuller’s daycare collects food for donations one month out of the year. The daycare was able to donate 400 food items in October.

“The response from the community has been amazing,” said Kyleen Fuller, owner of Helping Hands Daycare.

“I want to make sure that every kid has food on their table,” said Pierzakowski.

Pierzakowski hopes to launch the mobile food pantry as soon as possible and said people have already expressed interest in building additional pantries.

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