Hobart Food Pantry adds distribution center
By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent October 5, 2012 3:18PM
Hobart Mayor Mayor Brian K. Snedecor addresses the crowd at the dedication of the new Hobart Food Pantry distribution center in Hobart, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~For Sun-Times Media
For more information about the Hobart Food Pantry, call 947-7877.
Previously empty storage buildings on the grounds of the School City of Hobart are being put to good use.
For the past 20 years, the Hobart Food Pantry has conducted business in two buildings, one to store food and one used to distribute the food to the city’s residents in need.
Recently the dedication for the opening of a third building, to be used as a distribution area, was part of a ceremony marking the pantry’s 30 years in existence.
“An average of 140 to 150 Hobart families and seniors are served weekly,” said Theresa Larimore, pantry executive director. “We help those that have a hard time making ends meet. Some work, some are disabled, some just can’t find a job.”
Participants are subject to a qualifying process, she added, through the township trustee’s office, Hobart schools and local churches. And the pantry works hard to keep stocked to accommodate those eligible.
“I believe the success of the Hobart Food Pantry is due to the kindness our city gives to those that need help. Hobart is a unique community,” Larimore said. “We are one of the most successful pantries in our area.”
Indeed, donations are definitely a citywide effort. They come from individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, civic groups, Hobart schools and churches. No funding comes from the state or government.
Each year, two large food drives take place — the Hobart Post Office sponsors a spring drive and the Hobart Kiwanis sponsor a citywide food drive in the fall.
The new distribution room, site of two food giveaways each week, was made possible by the pantry’s partnership with the School City of Hobart and the Maria Reiner Foundation, along with local businesses, churches, and private individuals.
Touring the new facility were Anne Gilmore and her sister Harriet Martin, both of Merrillville. The ladies grew up in Hobart and keep tabs on happenings in their hometown.
“I didn’t realize there was such a need for a food pantry in Hobart, but the storage room here tells a big story,” Gilmore said, as they observed the shelves stacked high with nonperishable food items and other goods. “Thank goodness there are good people out there who give of their time — and their food — to those less fortunate.”
Her sister agrees.
“Everyone should be grateful when they have enough food for their families, because there seems to be many others who don’t,” Martin added. “It is truly a blessing that the Hobart Food Pantry and other pantries exist.”
The volunteer-run Hobart Food Pantry began in 1982, serving about 50 families.
The group started in an apartment in downtown Hobart, then quickly moved to one of the portable buildings at Mundell School.
Several women saw a need to offer a food pantry due to layoffs at steel mills in the early 1980s.
“Mary McIntyre was the lady that started it all. She was the director for 25 years,” Larimore said. “In this organization, everyone is a volunteer. There is no paid staff.”
Currently that staff totals 35 consistent volunteers and more than 50 others who help throughout the week.