Food bank hit hard by winter, preparing for summer

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Snow and extreme temperatures this winter forced many families to visit local food banks.

“The stories we’re hearing from people is that they’re really struggling to make ends meet,” said Food Finders Food Bank executive director Katy Bunder.

Extreme temperatures this winter caused heating bills to skyrocket and Bunder said that meant more people were turning to local food banks for help.

“We’ve been surprised by the clients,” Bunder said. “They are people we have not seen before and then the crowd has been larger than we imagined it would be in such cold weather.”

As if extreme temperatures weren’t enough this winter, snow storms cancelled several mobile food pantry events.

“We’ve been unable to get our mobile pantry out into the community as often because the roads have been so impassable, or the equipment that we used does not work well when the temperature is near zero or just above that,” Bunder said.

With winter and the holidays behind us Bunder said the new focus will be on getting enough food to feed families in the coming months. She said the highest demand from clients is during the summer when kids are home from school.

“This winter is a little exceptional because the heating bills have been so high, but typically what happens is that kids that are eating breakfast and lunch at school are home and the parents are having to provide on average 10 additional meals for their children,” Bunder said.

After last year’s success with the summer food service program, Bunder said she’s hopeful to be able to do it again this summer.

“We had — I believe it was — 30 different sites for that throughout six different counties, and we hope to replicate that this year with several of those sites being in Tippecanoe County,” Bunder said.

If you want to help hungry families in the area, you can drop of food or donations at Food Finders, 50 Olympia Court, in Lafayette.

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