Strack & Van Til donated $15,000 to The Salvation Army Lake County at a time when food requests have soared by 500%.
The Highland-based supermarket chain, which has 20 locations around Northwest Indiana, gave 600 gift cards to help families buy groceries this holiday season. The Salvation Army plans to distribute the $25 gift cards at its community centers in Gary, East Chicago, and Munster to obtain nutritious and delicious food for their holiday meals.
It also provided another $5,000 in gift cards to the Porter County chapter of The Salvation Army, which has been socked by increased demand and decreased donations to its iconic red kettles.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a major spike in requests for humanitarian and social services, such as help avoiding homelessness, hunger and utility shut offs.
“We are still working day-in and day-out not knowing what hardships the next day will bring. It is most difficult to prepare for the unknown,” The Salvation Army Lake County Captain Brian Clark said. “No one alive today has experienced a worldwide pandemic such as COVID-19. My prayer is that there won’t be another as devastating.”
Many seeking help in Lake County during the COVID-19 pandemic have never sought it before. The greatest need is for food, Clark said.
“Lake County has seen more than a 500% increase in the requests for emergency food assistance,” Clark said. “By providing help with obtaining food, many people can use money they’ve saved to pay their rent and utilities, preventing them from becoming homeless.”
Region stores that closed in 2020
Region stores that closed in 2020
The brick-and-mortar retail sector has been struggling because of competition with e-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay, Wayfair, Chewy and Zappos. But 2020 presented unprecedented challenges because of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns and restrictions. Here's a look at stores in the Region that closed, announced they would close, filed for bankruptcy or were saved from closure in 2020:
Art Van Furniture to close all stores, including in Hobart and Portage.
Family Video, the Glenview, Illinois-based company that's now the largest video store chain left in the United States, is closing 200 locations across the country this month, including in Dyer and Valparaiso.
Bed Bath & Beyond plans to close its locations in Hobart and Orland Park before the end of the year.
The Kmart in Valparaiso, the last one left in Northwest Indiana, has closed.
The Express clothing store closed Sunday in River Oaks Center in Calumet City.
The long-running family-owned jewelry store chain opened an outpost in the super-regional Southlake Mall in 2012.
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Carson's, the iconic Midwestern department store chain that has been run out of Merrillville as an e-commerce site since it collapsed into bankruptcy in 2018, closed its only remaining brick-and-mortar store in Evergreen Park, Illinois.
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The bankruptcy could deliver a big blow to the Southlake Mall and Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets.
The California-based retailer plans to keep open its stores, including its Hobart location at 2108 E 80th Ave. The musical superstore across from the Southlake Mall has long been a destination for musicians from across Northwest Indiana.
JC Penney, which already had filed for bankruptcy and announced it was shuttering 230 stores nationwide, said it would close its Calumet City department store at 200 River Oaks Drive. The troubled retailer is shuttering 154 stores this summer and plans to announce another wave of closures in the next few weeks.
The J.C. Penney at River Oaks Center has been spared from a previously announced closure as the troubled retailer works through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
A longtime customer is buying the Brumm's Bloomin' Barn florist and gift shop in Highland, which will become Bloomin' Barn next year.
Piper Boutiques is closing after 37 years in Valpo, while businesses across Northwest Indiana are limping on and looking for the public's support while still offering freebies for health care workers and first responders.
Macy's won't say whether its stores at the Southlake Mall and River Oaks Center will make the cut.
Pier 1 Imports filed for bankruptcy as it holds liquidation sales at its stores in Hobart and Valparaiso.