Representative Jim Banks (IN-03)
Despite being a region known for hard work and a robust agricultural footprint, northeast Indiana is no stranger to poverty or hunger. The poverty rate is an estimated 12.2%, affecting the health and livelihood of almost 96,000 people each year. Furthermore, approximately 90,000 people in Fort Wayne and its surrounding counties are considered food insecure. To address these needs, two community churches and a community food bank, who partners with local faith-based organizations, constantly assess, collaborate on, and give charity to the hunger needs of this close-knit community.
In Fort Wayne, the Catholic community of Fort Wayne-South Bend and the First Presbyterian community both provide a specialized array of services tailored to mitigate hunger and poverty. Specifically, each month, members of the First Presbyterian community collect food for emergency food banks around the Third Congressional District and provides volunteer-cooked meals to the local rescue mission.
One faith-based food bank in northeast Indiana also significantly contributes to this effort, working closely with faith-based groups to operate soups kitchens, food pantries, youth food programs, and homeless shelters for children, families, and veterans in need across nine counties. In 2016 alone, the food bank fed an average of 750 families a week, totaling an estimated 11.7 million pounds and 9.7 million meals to those in need.<
Thanks to the help and sacrifices made by an army of faith-based volunteers and employees around the Third District, fewer struggling families wake up hungry or worrying about where their next meal will come from. By providing hope to a community that is critical to the nation’s agricultural and manufacturing industries, northeast Indiana continues to shine because of faith-based organizations that are willing to roll up their sleeves.