GARY | U.S. Sen.-elect Joe Donnelly listened carefully as local food providers for the needy aired their concerns to him Sunday at the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.
Angie Williams, executive director of the food bank, encouraged Donnelly to advocate for federal funding for food benefits so residents don't have to depend on food banks as a main source of groceries.
“I really wanted him to understand that we need those federal programs protected,” she said.
Donnelly visited eight food banks around the state over the weekend and thanked people working at them for helping their neighbors.
“It is incredibly heartwarming to see just how much the people of our state take care of one another,” he said.
During his visit at the local food bank, which serves Lake and Porter counties, he sat down to speak with food distributors in the area and assure them he's going to work to help during his upcoming term as a U.S. senator.
"What I'm hopeful of is that with the election over, that everybody will work together," he said.
He toured the food bank's facility and asked questions about some of the programs the operation supports, including the BackPack program, which provides about 230 local children with meals over the weekends.
He urged the group to continue helping children through educational programs and to keep helping as many people as they can.
"I want to thank all of you for the tremendous work you do," he said.