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A grocery locker inside a Boston supermarket

City of Gary and partners get $872,680 grant to address hunger among homeless

Contributed By:The 411 News

Food locker system will allow homeless individuals 24-hour access to grab and go food

The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana is partnering with the City of Gary, Edgewater Health, and Brothers’ Keeper to address food insecurity among homeless individuals.

The Food Bank was recently awarded a combined total of $872,680 through the City of Gary’s Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) under the CARES Act. The funds will be used to provide a range of street outreach services over the next 2 years, including case management, a food locker system, weekly boxed lunches, and more.

"This first time ever partnership between the City of Gary, the Food Bank of NW Indiana, Edgewater Health and Brothers' Keeper provides a unique opportunity to bring together several very different organizations to serve a common population: Gary's homeless individuals. We sincerely hope that this service model will meet the needs of our community in a comprehensive way,” said Mayor Jerome Prince, City of Gary.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Continuum of Care, there are approximately 5,625 experiencing homelessness daily in the state of Indiana. “With the rising rate of homelessness in Lake County, and specifically in the Gary area, the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana saw a need to serve homeless individuals at a basic level by ensuring that food is available and easily accessible,” said Victor A. Garcia, President & CEO of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. “With all of the concerns associated with being homeless or not having a stable living situation, we want to make food one less worry.”

The grant gives the Food Bank of NWI an opportunity to offer case management services for the first time. “In addition to food, we can now offer referrals for other critical services to help potentially end the cycle of homelessness for the individuals we serve,” said Garcia.

Edgewater Health is joining the Food Bank in this endeavor as the host site for a new food locker system to allow homeless individuals 24-hour access to grab and go food.

“The opportunity to implement a grocery locker program at Edgewater Health will help us meet the essential needs of our most vulnerable populations. Having access to more nutritional foods will reduce the stigma and shame associated with being food insecure, and in many instances, cause additional psychological problems,” said Dr. Danita JohnsonHughes, President and CEO, of Edgewater Health.

“The partnership with Edgewater Health makes sense because of their already existing relationship with and service to the homeless population in the City of Gary,” said Garcia. “We are also working with Brothers’ Keeper to provide regular nutritious food for the individuals that visit the shelter.”

“This is much needed support for Brothers’ Keeper and will make a fundamental difference in the lives of homeless men who are unemployed, underemployed, ex-offenders, drug/alcohol addicts, the mental/emotionally challenged, and to the least of these,” said Isaac Mootye, Executive Director of Brothers’ Keeper.

Story Posted:05/01/2022

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