GARY | No major changes are expected as the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana transitions into new leadership.
After seven years at the food bank, Angie Williams, the organization's executive director, is leaving in May to take a position with another local nonprofit organization. Officials haven't disclosed the organization.
For about two weeks, Williams has been working with Arleen Peterson, who was selected as the food bank's new executive director.
The food bank was searching for an associate director when the opportunity developed for Williams at the other local nonprofit organization, she said.
Peterson was among the group of "strong candidates" for the food bank's associate director position, Williams said.
After Williams decided she would take the other position, the food bank decided to select Peterson to become the next executive director.
"Arleen was my first pick," Williams said.
With the food bank's associate director position still open, the organization later selected Pamela Perkins to fill that spot, Williams said.
Peterson has worked for other nonprofit organizations. She has a background in education, which made her stand out as a candidate, Williams said.
Williams also thinks Peterson has the enthusiasm needed to lead the food bank.
Peterson said she views the opportunity to learn directly from Williams as a "luxury."
Peterson said her intent is to "continue doing the good work" Williams and other food bank officials started at the organization. She also will keep searching for opportunities to enhance food assistance for local residents, she said.
The food bank expects a "seamless" transition because Peterson and Williams are collaborating before Williams begins her new role.
Williams said leaving the food bank is bittersweet for her because she had a "wonderful seven years" at the organization and she is looking forward to serving in her new position.
The necessity of providing food assistance in Northwest Indiana remained evident while Williams worked at a mobile food pantry March 25 in Valparaiso, she said.
While greeting people, Williams met a woman who is employed but the number of hours she works was reduced.
The woman doesn't qualify for government assistance.
The woman indicated she wouldn't have had food to eat if the mobile food pantry wasn't open.
Williams also met a young girl who spent her birthday waiting in the food pantry line with her family.
Williams said the food bank wouldn't have the opportunity to assist those in need without the food donations, volunteers and financial assistance received from area residents and businesses.
"I want to tell Northwest Indiana, thank you," Williams said of the support.
Visit www.foodbanknwi.org or call (219) 980-1777 for information about food bank programs and ways to help the organization.