Fighting Irish Fighting Hunger hosts mobile food pantry with Food Bank of Northern Indiana

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OIT staff members volunteer at a mobile food pantry at Evangel Heights United Methodist Church in South Bend. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.

OIT staff members volunteer at a mobile food pantry at Evangel Heights United Methodist Church in South Bend. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.

Fighting Irish Fighting Hunger hosted a mobile food pantry in collaboration with the Food Bank of Northern Indiana at Evangel Heights United Methodist Church earlier this month with volunteer support from the Office of Information Technologies (OIT).

Volunteers from Fighting Irish Fighting Hunger, as well as OIT, distributed food to dozens of clients from 9 a.m. to noon, including milk, bread, meat, cheese, canned goods and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fighting Irish Fighting Hunger is the University of Notre Dame’s annual food drive. The group supports People Gotta Eat and the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. It raised $27,850 and collected nearly 300 pounds of food for the two organizations in 2019.

“I feel like those of us at Notre Dame are just truly blessed, and there are so many people around us that are in need,” said Anne Kolaczyk, lead tech training specialist in OIT and chair of Fighting Irish Fighting Hunger. “That’s why we do the food drive every year.”

Kolaczyk said coworkers from OIT were looking for a service project last fall and were happy to join volunteers with Fighting Irish Fighting Hunger at the mobile pantry.

“We have a strong culture of community service” in OIT, Kolaczyk said, from collecting pop tops for the Ronald McDonald House, to raising money for breast cancer research and the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County.

John Kelly is a product manager in OIT.

“We’re appreciative that we can help folks, and we wish we could do more,” said Kelly, who spent the morning unloading food for the pantry and then distributing tomatoes and green peppers to clients.

With regular stops in areas of need around Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall and St. Joseph and Starke counties, the Food Bank’s Mobile pantries offer a bonus shopping experience for clients who have additional needs, or who struggle to access the organization’s regular network of pantries because of complications related to work and/or transportation.

The Evangel Heights pantry distributed 7,115 pounds of food to 117 households — the equivalent of about 47 meals per household — over the course of the morning, according to Marijo Martinec, executive director and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.

“We are humbled by the commitment and passion Fighting Irish Fighting Hunger, Anne Kolaczyk and the Office of Information Technologies have for fighting hunger in our community,” Martinec said.

For more information, visit fightinghunger.nd.edu.

Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127, eblasko@nd.edu