The Salvation Army operates the largest food pantry in La Porte County and the surrounding area. It operates two days per week on a regular basis and is available for emergency situations, as well. Clients may receive food once per month, or more often if there is a verifiable emergency. Each client receives approximately 50 pounds of groceries with double or triple orders available for larger families. When available, our clients receive frozen meat such as chicken, beef, pork, etc., as well as other sources of protein canned meat such as tuna, salmon, chicken, ham and peanut butter. Other typical grocery items distributed on pantry days are canned fruits and vegetables, soup, pasta, and sauce, boxed mashed potatoes, cereal, bread, and easy-to-prepare side dishes. We also try to include fresh dairy and produce as often as possible.
The purpose of the food pantry is to combat food insecurity in our community. The program plays a major role in preventing hunger in Michigan City, and helps create a community of healthier adults and children by providing nutritious food. From October 2022 to September 2023 there were 6,779 visits made to our food pantry. These clients came to us from all walks of life, and each with a unique background, but they all had the same need – food. In looking at our demographics, we discovered about half of our pantry clients are on fixed income – those who are on social security or disability, for example. Many of these individuals and families have no way of increasing their household income, so they rely on services such as food pantries to help meet their basic needs. The other half of our clients are typically employed individuals or households with other income, who only need to utilize our services occasionally when they need assistance with monthly groceries.
The Salvation Army also offers many other programs such as energy assistance, a free clothing closet, a backpack program for school childre, a diaper bank, Friday Night @ the Sal for families, Pathway of Hope Case Management and many other seasonal and spiritual programs. However, the key to offering additional programs is provide a continuum of services to assist individuals with their emergency needs but also to assist them with long term programs to break the cycle of poverty so they become more self-sufficient.
Our office is open Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 3 PM. Anyone can come by during this time to donate. However, if this time is not convenient, simply call us during this time, ask for Jessica, and arrange a time which is convernient to you. Donations can be taken to the double door off the alley. There is a doorbell next the to single door. We greatly appreciate all fresh produce as this is one of the greatest needs of those we serve.
ProducePedia is a free resource that covers the types of fresh produce that can be delivered to food pantries. Each entry includes information on color, taste, and possible uses. People unfamiliar with the vegetable or fruit will learn how to use it, and those who are familiar with it still might learn a fun fact or two!
The Cooperative Extension sites have a wealth of information for any backyard gardener. Once you go to the site (each one if very different from the others) look for a link for “homes and gardens”, “landscape”, “consumer horticulture”, etc. to find information on improving your backyard garden. Neighboring state sites may offer information your own state’s site lacks.