Elkhart County Residents Rally to Support Food Pantries
The United Against Hunger Drive-Thru Food Drive, held May 16, raised over 19,000 pounds of donated food and nearly $80,000 to support 12 local food pantries, according to preliminary results.
The food drive was envisioned by Mike Cataldo, a local postal carrier and food security advocate, after he saw reports of a sharp increase in demand at local pantries. He helped bring together a group of nonprofit leaders, who soon realized that a countywide effort was required to address the need. The United Against Hunger Food Drive, sponsored by United Way of Elkhart & LaGrange Counties and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, produced results beyond organizers’ expectations.
“We are so grateful for this incredible display of generosity and care. Families are facing lots of uncertainty, and many are navigating loss of income, school closures, and countless other stresses. No family should have to worry if they can put food on the table. Thank you to all of the donors, large and small, that have helped to keep our pantries stocked,” said Keith Sarber, event organizer and United Way Vice President of Community Impact.
In observance of social distancing and safety recommendations, masked volunteers from Acts of Service and local pantries unloaded food donations directly from people’s cars at eight drive-through locations in Bristol, Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury, and Nappanee.
Major gifts included $50,000 from Bill and Kristin Fenech, $10,000 from JPMorgan Chase, and $8,000 plus 2,000 pounds of food from Sugar Grove Church.
The twelve participating pantries were Bristol Food Pantry, Church Community Services, Faith Mission, Family Christian Development Center, Guidance Ministries, Middlebury Food Pantry, Open Door, Salvation Army of Elkhart, Salvation Army of Goshen, St. Johns, Susanna’s Kitchen, and The Window.
Online donations to the food drive will continue to be accepted through Friday May 22 at unitedwayec.org/covid-19.