Granger Community Church braces for big food drop on Saturday

While dropping temperatures and tight budgets after Christmas usually put the brakes on charitable giving at the start of each new year, at least two organizations in South Bend are joining together this month to counter that trend.

In partnership with IRBN Foods, the Northern Indiana Food Bank, and Lippert Components, Granger Community Church is hosting a 9 a.m. Saturday food delivery to its Granger and Elkhart campuses. The big event supports more than 6,300 families, 12 local pantries, three homeless shelters and 12 neighborhoods in Indiana and Michigan.

It is a continuation of Granger Community Church‘s 2019 Christmas offering program and recognizes that hunger doesn’t go away when Santa does. Ted Bryant, pastor at GCC, said that despite generous donations during the holiday season, the months after Christmas are when local pantries need help the most.

“We understood that after the holidays, they (the pantries) run out of supplies because they gave their all during the Christmas season.” He said, “So the most strategic time to help local pantries is this time of late January when their normal stock is very low. “

Mari Jo Martinec, Executive Director and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, confirmed that the needs are particularly high at this time of year.

“This is the time of year when credit card bills come in. »Says Martinec. “We live in an area where we see the sun two days a week. People just aren’t thinking of feeding the hungry right now, so it’s a great time of need. “

Local religious organizations have joined forces to meet these post-holiday needs. The Michiana Islamic Society has pledged to match up to $ 5,000 in donations from local organizations. Members of the Islamic Society rose to the challenge and raised $ 5,000, said Imam Mohammed Sirajuddin.

“We wanted to give back to our community and we wanted to show that we love and care for our neighbors and families in our community and our society.” He said: “Providing food is a fundamental responsibility for us as Muslims, to our neighbors and to the struggling families in our community. “

This Saturday, the Islamic Society will give the Food Bank the $ 10,000 it has collected. This sum of money will provide more than 41,000 pounds of food and up to 32,109 meals, Martinec said.

“We are really touched by the support of the Islamic Society which helps us to feed the hungry people in our community,” she said.

“We hope this helps at a time when they have less support,” Sirajuddin said.

Granger Community Church food drives have been supporting the needy since 2002 – this year 75,000 pounds of food will feed those struggling in the community.

“It’s going to help those who need it at exactly the right time,” said Bryant. “We get cards every year from people saying ‘Thank you, I prayed to God and you came at the right time.’ “

Everyone is welcome to Saturday’s event – teens and adults alike will wrap the boxes while the kids decorate them. Seeing multiple generations come together to reduce hunger is inspiring because it shows the vibrancy of the local community, said Bryant.

“We believe it’s not just the food, but the love and care of the people who pack the food that help show that we as a community love and care for ourselves,” he said. he declares. “It helps them feel inspired and happy to make a difference. “

“You can tell it’s really sincere of them,” Martinec said. ” It is really touching.

“In this community, the need continues to be great,” Martinec said. “But it’s such a generous community and (she) always steps up to the task.”

Norma P. Rex