'People are able to keep their dignity, they're staying in their car, they're not feeling like they're less than'
VALPARAISO, Ind. (WLS) -- Five days a week, volunteers and staff at the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana are making it easier for their neighbors to get access to free and nutritious food, all from the comfort of their car.
"People are able to keep their dignity, they're staying in their car, they're not feeling like they're less than but two, you're also mitigating the transportation barrier," said Victor Garcia, president and CEO of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.
The food bank's Mobile Market Program travels to specific communities in Lake and Porter counties facing food insecurity.
"Sometimes we have people who are living in poverty, sometimes we have folks who recently lost a job and are just trying to get by for a short period of time," said Garcia. "Here at the food bank we don't turn people away."
And with the price of food skyrocketing, every little bit helps.
"It helps with the basics, and you have to worry about the majority." said Tasha Gasper of Lake Station. "I'm a single mom of four kids, and then I got my mother, so it's really hard right now."
"I feel like it helps families just know we can celebrate and that the food is being taken care of, and we can just focus on loving each other," said Julie Anderson, SNAP support coordinator for the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.
And that love is something the volunteers and staff make sure to share with a helping hand and caring face.
"I like to make sure that every car, every person gets a smile, a how are you, thank you for coming," said Anderson. "When they say thank you, i feel like it's my pleasure that i get to serve them. I've been that hungry person before, that's why I love my job."
The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana has been fighting hunger since 1982.
Each year, it distributes more than 4.5 million meals across Lake and Porter counties.