Community News Archives for 2020-03

New statewide map available for Hoosiers seeking food assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, in partnership with the state’s  food banks, the Indy Hunger Network and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, has developed a statewide, interactive map that will help Hoosiers seeking food assistance find what they need. The map is online here, and will be prominently featured at The map can be used on desktop/laptop computers and mobile devices.


“Many Hoosiers’ situations have changed as a result of our state’s important and necessary response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H., FSSA Secretary. “We know there is a significant need for families – many of whom have never needed assistance before. We hope this tool helps them locate resources to meet their food and nutrition needs during this crisis and in the future.”


There are two types of organizations shown on the map: food pantries and meal sites. Food pantries are locations where Hoosiers can pick up groceries to prepare and use at their homes. Meal sites serve packed meals, ready to take home and eat.


Earlier this week, FSSA encouraged food pantries to stay open to keep serving Hoosiers and issued a call for volunteers under age 60 who are able to serve. FSSA is actively working with food pantries, food banks and community kitchens across the state to track which are open and is updating the map accordingly.

Relief fund created by Northern Indiana Community Foundation

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, special emergency relief funds have been created at the Northern Indiana Community Foundation (NICF) to support their fund affiliates in Starke, Fulton and Miami counties.


Both the Fulton County Community Foundation and the Starke County Community Foundation have created the Fulton County Emergency Relief Fund and the Starke County Emergency Relief Fund respectively. These funds will provide for community needs which arise from the COVID-19 virus. Donations will be used to address community needs related to the pandemic and situations that may arise because of it.


The Miami County Community Foundation has donated $5,000 to help kick off a food relief effort sponsored in partnership with United Way of Miami County. This collaboration will help Miami County pantries with a food relief drive through April 30, 2020.


Donations made to these efforts will be used locally and 100% of the gifts will be used to address community needs related to this pandemic.


Gifts can be made online to support the Fulton County Emergency Relief Fund and the Starke County Emergency Relief Fund by clicking on the Donate Button on Checks may be made out to the NICF and mailed to P.O. Box 807, Rochester, IN 46975. Please specify which county relief fund the donation will benefit.


To help with the Miami County food relief effort, mail donations to the United Way of Miami County at 13 E Main St., Peru, IN 46970 or contribute online at  Donations will be deposited into an emergency food relief fund where all gifts will support Miami County individuals and families left vulnerable by the pandemic.


For more information, please contact the NICF office at 574-223-2227 or visit

USDA Service Centers precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus

U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Centers are encouraging visitors to take proactive protective measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.


USDA Service Centers in Indiana will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While our program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with our producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment.  In the event a Service Center is closed, producers can receive assistance from the closest alternate Service Center by phone.


Producers can find Service Center phone numbers at


FPAC agencies continue to look at the flexibilities to deliver programs on behalf of producers, just as they have in past situations, such as natural disasters. Farmers and ranchers are resilient and FPAC agencies will continue to deliver the farm safety net programs and resource conservation programs that keep American agriculture in business today and long into the future.


Online services are available to customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and payments and view and track certain USDA program applications and payments. Online NRCS services are available to customers through the Conservation Client Gateway. Customers can track payments, report completed practices, request conservation assistance, and electronically sign documents. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at


For the most current updates on available services and Service Center status visit



FSSA calls on Indiana food pantries to stay open and keep serving Hoosiers

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration today called on Hoosiers to help keep the state’s network of food pantries open. FSSA is tracking the number of food pantries operating across the state as part of the state’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).


“Now is the time for us as Hoosiers to double down on our best quality -- serving each other,” said Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H., FSSA Secretary. “Food pantries are critical harbors of hope in many local communities, and with them facing difficulties operating and possibly reducing the food supply to our neighbors in need, it’s time to sound a loud call for help across the state.”  


Many food pantries are supported by a volunteer workforce, with many volunteers over the age of 60. Understandably and thankfully, many of those older Hoosiers and others with health challenges are choosing to stay home to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19.


Sullivan urged anyone who not in a vulnerable population or demographic to answer to call to help at a local food pantry.  Hoosiers can call 2-1-1 and ask for a list of nearby food pantries.


Anyone having troubling obtaining enough food for themselves or their families should call 2-1-1 for help.

Kroger hiring to keep up with COVID-19 impact

Kroger has immediate openings.


The positions may be perfect for people whose current jobs have been suspended by the coronavirus crisis. New associates might work on the Kroger Pickup team. They might be cashiers. They might also find appealing positions in Kroger manufacturing plants and distribution centers. 


Every role will help us keep our stores stocked with fresh, affordable food and other essentials.


Candidates may visit their neighborhood Kroger to apply or submit an application at Job seekers could be placed within just a matter of days.

Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation Kindergarten Registration

Akron and Mentone Elementary Schools will hold kindergarten registration for the 2020-2021 school year on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria. Child Care will be provided for parents with young children.


Students attending kindergarten during the 2020-2021 school year must be five (5) years old on or before October 1, 2020. A birth certificate, immunization records and a valid email are required when the child is registered.


Early registration for kindergarten students is critical in planning for next year’s kindergarten program.  If you have a child to be enrolled but are unable to attend registration, please contact Akron Elementary School at 574-598-2367 or Mentone Elementary School at 574-598-2590 prior to March 16.

Rochester Community Schools monitors COVID-19

COVID-19 Virus Media Release:

Rochester Community School Corporation is committed to the health, safety and general well-being of your student, as well as our staff.  With increased information around the Covid-19 virus, we continue to follow best practices and monitor our district.  Extra precautions are being taken to properly disinfect all areas of the school buildings, and buses.  Our nursing staff continues to work daily with local physicians as well as the Fulton County Health Department and the Indiana Department of Education and State Board of Health to ensure we are taking every step necessary to protect our Zebra community as well as to continue to build those lines of communication.

If you have any questions or concerns, please visit the following websites:

Steps to prevent illness:

CDC Main Website

Palestine Cemetery spring cleanup reminder

The Board of Directors of the Palestine Cemetery, Inc., Palestine, Indiana, reminds its patrons that all grave decorations must be removed or brought into compliance with the cemetery regulations by April 1, 2020, to allow for spring cleanup.  Decorations not in compliance with cemetery regulations after April 1, 2020, will be disposed of.  The following are regulations of the Palestine Cemetery, Inc. regarding plantings, flowers, and shrubbery:


  • All flowers must be placed within the line of the headstone, on cement or in a cement urn, or fastened to the headstone securely. 


  • No wires, glass, shepherd’s hooks, or hanging baskets may be set in the ground.


  • All shrubbery shall be maintained or it will be removed at the owner’s expense.


  • Winter grave blankets are permitted if removed by April 1.


  • All plantings and/or shrubbery must have approval of the Cemetery Board prior to planting.


Questions may be directed to the sexton of the Palestine Cemetery, Inc., Duane Burkhart, at (574) 551-6666.