Having already seen a 21 percent increase in people in need of help in the
past year, the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry is gearing up for another
busy Christmas distribution.
The Pantry Board of Directors recently reported that the pantry has served
more than 3,248 family units or about 10,090 individual units from January
through November of this year. Each time a family or an individual comes to
the food pantry, they are counted as one unit.
Those numbers are up 21 percent over last year. What’s perhaps just as
significant is that last year’s numbers were up 25 percent from the year
“You can see that things are tough out there,” said Food Pantry Board
President Rick Hokanson.
The Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry has set this year’s holiday food
distribution for Tuesday, Dec. 21 between 9 and 11 a.m.
In addition, the Food Pantry has set a special collection date, Dec. 11, for
people who want to contribute to the food pantry.
Hokanson, who has been actively involved in the food pantry ever since its
inception in 1982, said the growth of the pantry over the years has almost
“It’s amazing that this has been going on for as long as it has, and it’s
because of the community support,” he said.
The Westchester Neighbor Food Pantry serves the four Duneland townships, and
everyone who comes in for assistance is screened to make sure that the
family or individual is from Duneland and to ensure that they are in need.
Recipients run the gamut -- from single parents to underemployed working
folks to senior citizens overwhelmed by high prescription costs.
The Food Pantry served more than 220 families for its Thanksgiving
distribution, and Hokanson said the pantry is projecting to serve about 265
families for its distribution of Christmas meals.
It’s too early to say if enough food will be donated to serve everyone.
As Hokanson notes, the food pantry gets the peak of its donations during the
holidays. But he also said the community has always stepped up. He also
credited the Duneland School students who have organized various collection
drives at their schools. “It’s amazing what they do,” he said.
The special collection date will be on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to
Donors can drop off their items on the west side of the Duneland Resale
building at the corner of 8th Street and Broadway.
In addition to canned goods, other suggested donations for this special
collection include: Fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta items, tuna fish,
soups, sugar, flour, cereal, dish detergent, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste,
personal hygiene items, laundry soap, paper products, baby formula, baby
food, and large diapers.
Donors who can’t make the Dec. 11 special collection may drop off
non-perishable food items anytime at any of the following locations: Fifth
Third Bank, 302 Broadway, Chesterton; Porter Bank, 230 Lincoln Street,
Porter; LaPorte Savings Bank, 851 Indian Boundary Road, Chesterton; Anton
Insurance Agency, 155 S. Calumet Rd., Chesterton; and the front lobby of the
Duneland Resale Building, 8th and Broadway, Chesterton.
If needed, arrangements for pick-up can be made by contacting Julie
Richardson at 926-7001.
Those who wish to make monetary donations can send their check or money
order to the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry, P.O. Box 902, Chesterton, IN