The 411 Food Fair

Food Bank of Northwest Indiana’s Victor Garcia, (l-r), Northwest Community Action’s Jennifer Trowbridge, Methodist Hospital’s Matt Doyle, HealthLinc’s Melissa Mitchell, and Franciscan Alliance’s Dr. Ibrahim Zabaneh

The Food Bank of NWI raised $70,000 with The Soiree 2024

Contributed By: The 411 News

Healthcare partners honored for 'Food is Medicine' programs

Shining the spotlight on its healthcare partners helped the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana raise $70,000 of its $100,000 goal to support hunger relief efforts in Lake and Porter counties.

Guests and sponsors of the Food Bank’s major fundraising event – Soiree 2024 held on April 29th – contributed much of that.

“We're always looking for ways to partner and collaborate so that we can expand the impact we have on our community,” said Food Bank President and CEO Victor Garcia. “We really wanted to focus this evening on our Food is Medicine programs.”

Healthcare partners honored were Franciscan Health, Methodist Hospitals, HealthLinc, Regional Health Systems, St. Mary Medical Center, Community HealthNet, and Northwest Indiana Community Action.

“One of the reasons the Food Bank chose to engage in Food is Medicine was due to the very challenging information we had about the infant mortality rate,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, Indiana is one of the worst states in the country for infant mortality; 49.1% of all live births in the state of Indiana are born to women who are on Medicaid.”

“These are our friends and neighbors at their most vulnerable, and that's why the Food Bank decided we needed to find a way that we can help those neighbors, so we can get to those folks who need nutrition, not calories, nutrition, to make sure their babies have a chance at a healthy, successful life,” Garcia said.

At Methodist Hospitals, incoming clients are asked if they have difficulty obtaining daily meals. If so, a nutritionist is assigned to the patient and upon discharge, the patient receives healthy food supplied by the Food Bank. The nutritionist follows up with patients to see if additional food help is needed.

At Franciscan Alliance, a partnership with the Food Bank provides healthy foods for the hospital’s drive-thru mobile markets, healthy food bodegas in Hammond and Crown Point, and its Food Rx Program.

At HealthLinc, their partnership with the Food Bank provides not only food but hot plates and crock pots. “We have improved the health of those suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure and we can prove it,” said Melissa Mitchell, HealthLinc CEO.

“Fresh produce can change your health,” said Jennifer Trowbridge, CEO at Northwest Indiana Community Action, about the partnership with the Food Bank that delivers 6,000 pounds of produce to people over the age of 60 each month.

Highlights of the evening were food, beer and wine samplings from partners creating ambience for a silent auction, a champagne raffle, a wine barrel raffle and an audience participation game.

Foods and beverages were supplied by Sue & Kim’s Pies, American Culinary Federation, Asparagus, Frank's Backyard Barbecue, Indiana Beverage, Ivy Tech, Meals on Wheels, Montego Bay Grille, NWI Food Council Region Roots, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Strack & Van Til, Tandoori Cafe, Saturday Sangria Bakery & Cafe, and Windy City Mushrooms.

Story Posted:05/10/2024

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