GARY | Nongovernmental donations to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana increased by nearly 18 percent in 2012, the organization recently reported.
The additional donations were needed because the organization saw a drop in the amount of food it has received from the federal government, said Megan Sikes, the food bank's communications and advocacy manager.
The food bank distributed more than 4.9 million pounds of food last year to nearly 100 food pantries, soup kitchens and after-school programs in Lake and Porter counties, according to the organization.
The food bank couldn't have reached that mark without the added assistance, Sikes said.
"We're very thankful for it," she said of the increased donations.
Financial assistance to the food bank received a boost Thursday, Sikes said.
The food bank received more than $82,000 in cash contributions and about $8,400 in food through the Check Out Hunger campaign conducted at Strack & Van Til, Ultra Foods and Town & Country grocery stores.
While pleased with the continued financial support the food bank receives from residents and businesses, the organization believes a partnership between the federal government and charitable food systems is important because of the drop in food received from the government, according to a written release from the food bank.
"Cutting funding to programs like (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) now when there are so many people still feeling the effects of the recession is only going to make the problem worse,” Angie Williams, executive director of the food bank, said in the written release.