|Midwest food bank sees higher demand|
|Written by Jenny Jackowski, Senior Staff|
|Thursday, 14 February 2013 13:42|
About 400 people a month visit Bloomington’s Midwest Food Bank. In 2011, demand increased 25 percent from the year before. Demand went up again by 30 percent in 2012 from 2011.
“Anyone can donate to the food bank. It depends on what they want to donate. If they want to donate money, they can send us checks or they can [visit the] donate page on our website where they can donate using their credit card. Or they can call in and give us a credit card. Or they can come by and drop off cash, check, credit card or anything like that,” Wagner said.
The Bloomington branch is located at 1703 S. Veterans Parkway. They can be reached by calling (309) 663-5350 or via their website at midwestfoodbank.org.
The food bank is always in need of nonperishable food items, such as canned or boxed goods.
“Canned goods are what we have to purchase because we don’t get that generally through our normal channels,” Wagner said.
According to the Midwest Food Bank’s website, “[The] organization, was started in 2003 when the Kieser family began providing food out of a building on their family farm.” In 2005, they moved to their current location.
When they opened, the Bloomington Midwest Food Bank served 10 agencies. That number has now risen to 230.
The Peoria location opened in 2007, followed by the Indianapolis facility in 2008 and the Peach Tree City, Ga. in 2011. Between the four branches, about 700 agencies are getting relief aid from the Midwest Food Bank.
“We can only give out what we have. We’ve been accessing more channels, and we’re starting to look into getting grants and things like that rather than just going on the donations we’ve had in the past,” Wagner said.
The Midwest Food Bank takes the donations and food it receives and distributes it to pantries all over the area.
They get a lot of their items from corporations, including Pepsi and Quaker Oats. However, the canned and boxed non-perishable items must be bought or received from donations.
The Midwest Food Bank uses volunteers to bring in and distribute its donations.
Volunteer groups will be covering operations until about the end of May. At that point, the Midwest Food Bank will need more hands. They welcome groups to come and volunteer.
Groups interested should call ahead and schedule a time that works for the food bank as well as the group.
“We generally use volunteers during our distribution week, which is usually the first full week of the month. That will be the week of the fourth through the eighth of next month [March] and the first through the fifth in April. If they would like to come in, we start at about 8:15 in the morning,” Wagner said.
Groups or volunteers wishing to help out after 9:30 a.m. should call ahead. In the past, the food bank has had too many volunteers during distribution week and has had to send people away. They can use about 50 people at a time.
“Any donations are always welcome. If people are moving or something like that and they have something they don’t want to move, non-perishable, unopened food, we’re more than willing to take that. If kids at the end of the school year have unopened food they haven’t taken and they aren’t planning on taking it home with them for the summer … we’re willing to take it,” Wagner said.