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Strack & Van Til Checkout Challege to feed needy with 667,000 meals

Strack & Van Til Checkout Challege to feed needy with 667,000 meals

Strack & Van Til Checkout Challege to feed needy with 667,000 meals

Representatives of Strack & Van Til and of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana gather for a ceremonial check presentation from the grocery chain's most recent Checkout Challenge.

Strack & Van Til customers "rounded up" to raise $222,306.56 for the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana during a holiday season Checkout Challenge. The donation is enough to provide 667,000 meals to the needy.

Highland-based Strack & Van Til asked customers to round up their grocery bill to the nearest dollar at all 20 supermarkets during November and December to help food-insecure neighbors.

“I am so proud of our community and the Strack & Van Til customers. Those pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that were donated at the end of every grocery bill combined to generate a level of food assistance that will help support so many families”, said Victor Garcia, CEO of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. “Our partnership with Strack & Van Til makes this type of impact possible."

Ten cashiers — Pam Cagle and Jeff Beedle at Chesterton; Mary Krueger, Shelly McMann and Amanda Miller at Valparaiso; Ari Patel at Chesterton; Evon Serwatks-Martin at St. John; Dawn Carroll at Highland; Alex Jeka at Hobart and Debbie Scott at Crown Point — were the top fundraisers for in the challenge.

“Collectively, these 10 cashiers inspired customers to raise more than 58,000 meals. They took every opportunity to simply ask customers to participate in the Checkout Challenge," Garcia said. “We celebrate the tremendous efforts of all of the cashiers, the store managers, and all of the customers, to ensure that there is an ample amount of food assistance available for anyone who needs it”.

The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana has reported much higher demand during the coronavirus pandemic, when many people were put out of work or saw reductions in their income. As many as one out of five Northwest Indiana residents were out of work early in the pandemic, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Developments.

“Strack & Van Til and Town & Country are so grateful for our customers' generous support of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana throughout a challenging holiday season," Strack & Van Til President & CEO Jeff Strack said. “The 667,000 meals raised through this campaign proves that small acts of kindness have an incredible impact. We appreciate the partnership with the Food Bank and are fortunate to be able to play a part in connecting our customers and the community to such a worthy organization."

Lines have stretched down the street to get food assistance at the food banks, including the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, which distributes 5 million meals annually to children, seniors and others in need.

“Strack & Van Til is Indiana’s grocery store and has been a long-time partner of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana," Garcia said. “There is strong alignment with our mission and values. The generosity of the customers and the support of the entire Strack & Van Til team during the Checkout Challenge reflects the value of that relationship to the community."

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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