SCHERERVILLE | There was plenty of excitement Wednesday night as the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana celebrated the success of its Hunger Action Month activities and raised funds for one of its many programs to help fight hunger in the area.
The enthusiasm appeared to be at its peak when Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig made his entrance at the event at JAK's Warehouse.
"It's like waiting for a rock star," Megan Sikes, the food bank's communications/advocacy manager, said of the anticipation of Bollig's arrival.
The food bank hosted its Family Fun Night fundraiser Wednesday to generate funds for its HOPE Project, which is a tutoring and mentoring program that helps children break the generational cycle of poverty.
Bollig thanked those attending the event before starting an autograph session.
Sikes said about 400 people registered in advance to participate in the fundraiser, and she thinks Bollig's appearance helped generate interest in the event.
"To give time to support the cause is really great," Sikes said.
Besides the chance to meet Bollig, those at the fundraiser were able to participate in all of the attractions at JAK's Warehouse. The food bank also had raffles, competitions and games.
Arleen Peterson, the food bank's executive director, was especially thankful for the success of the fundraiser because of the impact it will have on the HOPE Project.
In addition to the academic assistance HOPE Project participants receive, they also are given food to help meet their nutritional needs, Peterson said.
Sikes said the fundraiser capped off the food bank's recognition of Hunger Action Month. The organization hosted several events throughout the month, including a mobile market that provided free food to 635 families, Sikes said.
She said attendance at that program was higher than it was during last year's mobile market.
Although the food bank is pleased it reached more people, the high attendance shows there is still a heavy need for food assistance in the area, Sikes said.
Visit www.foodbanknwi.org for information about the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.