Families will soon be gathering for Thanksgiving dinner. You can almost smell the deliciousness wafting in the air. A traditional turkey, a ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, and those delectable pies.
But not everyone is so fortunate.
Some local families struggle to put just one meal on the table, let alone an entire feast.
A recent study from the United Way found that 40 percent of St. Joseph County households struggle to make ends meet.
That’s one of the reasons why our local food pantries are vitally important. That is particularly true for families who are in need of assistance but do not qualify for Indiana’s strict food stamp requirements, which recently became even stricter.
None of the food banks that we reached out to had turkeys available but all three will be open on Wednesday, November 26, just ahead of Thanksgiving.
The Food Bank of Northern Indiana at 702 S. Chapin Street in South Bend is open from 2 until 6 pm on Wednesday. Recipients can go once every 30 days. A valid photo ID or driver’s license is required.
La Casa de Amistad located at 746 South Meade Street in South Bend has a food pantry from 2 until 5 on Wednesdays.
Sam Centellas, the executive director of La Casa, estimates that close to 60 percent is canned food. He says that they also have bread, dry goods and meat, although it depends on the donations from week to week.
Catholic Charities located at 1817 Miami Street in South Bend has its food pantry open on Wednesdays from 10 until noon and then again in the evening from 5 until 7 pm. Recipients must meet income guidelines.
Catholic Charities has a “choice pantry”, according to Claire Coleman, the administrator of the South Bend office.
A choice pantry allows recipients to select from a menu of available items. Recipients can select items in certain categories that they prefer.
Catholic Charities asks for everyone to arrive fifteen minutes prior to closing time.
The Food Bank of Northern Indiana and Catholic Charities will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Readers are encouraged to visit http://feedindiana.org/food-pantries for a full map of food pantries in the area.
If you are looking to make a donation, all three locations accept both food and cash donations. Catholic Charities mentioned that they also accept material donations.
“For every $1, we can provide up to 9 meals or 11 pounds of food,” says Mary Joe Martinec of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.
Drop-offs are accepted at Catholic Charities between 8 and 4:30 Monday through Friday. The Northern Indiana Food Bank accepts drop-offs between 8 and 4 Monday through Friday.