NIPSCO provided needed holiday meals to 700 northeast Indiana families burdened with medical expenses. Families determined to be most in need were given a turkey and 50 pounds of food, thanks to NIPSCO’s generosity. The utility company presented Community Harvest with a $10,000 check during a news conference Tuesday, January 12 at the food bank’s facility in Fort Wayne.
“At NIPSCO northeast Indiana, Community Harvest is near and dear to our hearts and our employees’ hearts,” said Dana Berkes, NIPSCO public affairs manager. “And so, during ‘Hope for the Holidays,’ we gave $10,000 to Community Harvest to use as needed for areas in northeast Indiana.”
Families receiving the food voucher were selected by 39 member agencies that partner with Community Harvest. In addition to turkeys, each family selected 50 pounds of holiday groceries at Community Cupboard, a unique Community Harvest pantry resembling a neighborhood grocery store.
“We are thankful for NIPSCO’s $10,000 donation that provided 700 families with a turkey and 50 pounds of food over the holiday season,” said Carmen Griffith, Interim Executive Director of Community Harvest Food Bank. “Through 39 of our member agencies, we distributed vouchers to families facing medical burdens, who were then able to come to our Community Cupboard and make food selections.”
Representatives of Pleasant Dale Church, Parkview Home Health and Hospice, St. Mark’s Food Pantry, and Churubusco United Methodist Church were in attendance.
“I don’t even know where to begin with how much we appreciate the food vouchers. So many families have been able to benefit, from families of cancer patients to Alzheimer’s patients,” said Mike DeWinter of Parkview Home Health and Hospice. “I don’t have one big inspirational story, but we do have hundreds of small moments with families, and we can’t say enough about how much we appreciate what Community Harvest and NIPSCO have done.”
“We are very appreciative of the assistance of NIPSCO and Community Harvest Food Bank for the turkeys and food vouchers,” said Ron Morris of Churubusco. “It helped a lot of people who would not have gotten holiday meals otherwise.”
Though weather prevented some agencies from attending, they had stories and statements to share.
“It is a very helpful thing that NIPSCO and Community Harvest does for us, as our clients are in need during this time of year in a special way,” said Doug Keenan of Central Noble Food Pantry. “As their living expenses increase with the changes in the weather, they have less money for food. This allows them to have funds for other parts of their lives.”
“We really appreciate the support of the holiday vouchers. Our clients are very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in this manner and the response is overwhelmingly positive,” said Roy Nevil, Pastor of Poneto United Methodist Church. “We look forward to NIPSCO’s continued support in the years ahead.”
Marsha Haffner of Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana had the following story to share: “Having a cancer diagnosis can be quite overwhelming for an individual. Having a spouse get diagnosed with a cancer recurrence just six months after your own cancer diagnosis presents even more unique challenges. This became a reality for a Fort Wayne married couple. Balancing treatment, surgeries, and follow up appointments as well as the effects of the diagnoses temporarily affected their ability to work. Unfortunately, their struggle with resources coincided with the holidays. As a result of community programs, such as NIPSCO’s support of Community Harvest Food Bank, this couple was able to have not only their nutritional needs met, but their personal need to participate in and contribute to the family’s experience of the holidays. This little bit of security and normalcy is a tremendous respite in a sea of difficulty for this couple.”