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Leslie Biesiada, a volunteer at the Community Harvest Food Bank, helps stock the shelves of the Community Cupboard in August.

Northern Indiana food banks host hunger summit

Statement as issued Wednesday:

FORT WAYNE, IN (September 19, 2012) – As part of Hunger Action Month, Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana in Fort Wayne and the Food Bank of Northern Indiana in South Bend are combining forces to host a "Hunger Summit". On September 26 a panel of area experts will address the issue of hunger in our region identifying its causes, impact and solutions.

Confirmed panelists to date include: Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman who serves on the House Agriculture committee, the Budget committee and the Veterans Affairs committee serving as chairman of its Economic Opportunities subcommittee; Hodge Patel, District Director for Congressman Joe Donnelly who serves on the Veterans Affairs committee and the Financial Services committee; State Representative Kathy Heuer who serves on the state Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development, Education, and Local Government committees; Doug Keenan who is a Purdue Extension Educator; Beth Bechdol, Director of Agribusiness Strategies for Ice Miller; and Matt Bell, President of Ivy Tech Corporate College. Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, executive director, Jane Avery, and Food Bank of Northern Indiana, executive director, Milton Lee, will start the dialogue looking at the current state of hunger in our region. Several other area experts have yet to be confirmed.

The public is invited to attend and encouraged to participate. The event will be held Wednesday, September 26 from 4:00 P.M. - 5:30 P.M. at Biomet in Warsaw, Indiana. Biomet has donated the use of its facility located at 56 East Bell Drive in Warsaw for this important Hunger Summit.

“We hope to use this opportunity as a means to educate the public on issues related to hunger in northern Indiana and to share ideas seeking solutions to help feed the growing number of northern Indiana Hoosiers, nearly half of which are children, and do not know where their next meal will come from,” said Jane Avery. “Having a forum to discuss the issues and share ideas will help us all better understand what we’re up against which will better help us tackle the challenges head-on,” said Milton Lee.

About Community Harvest Food Bank

Community Harvest Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in northeast Indiana, annually distributing nearly 11 million pounds of food. Community Harvest collects wholesome surplus food and grocery products donated by the food industry – products that might otherwise go to a landfill – and other donors and utilizes it for hunger relief. The food is distributed by nearly 430 churches and human service agencies in its member agency net-work, serving 21,100 unduplicated clients per week throughout its nine northeast Indiana county service area. These agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, and youth and senior citizen programs. Community Harvest Food Bank is a member of Feeding America and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH). For more information, visit www.communityharvest.org.

About Food Bank of Northern Indiana

The Food Bank of Northern Indiana was founded in 1993 as the North Central Indiana Food Bank. During its first year of operation, a modest 6,800 pounds of food was distributed to 29 social service agencies. In 2011, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana distributed nearly six million pounds of food to 185 agencies in Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Marshall, Starke and St. Joseph counties in northern Indiana. The Food Bank is a member of Feeding America and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH). For more information, visit www.feedindiana.org.

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