A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Lisa Pierzakowski

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Lisa Pierzakowski

Lisa Pierzakowski has a strong passion for helping members of her community. She is in her eighth year of office as the center township trustee and she dedicates her time to ensuring that members of the community have the proper knowledge and resources to provide for their families. 

“When I first took office, I started a resource center food pantry to be added to our office. Not only do we help people with rent, NIPSCO, and water, but we also have a food pantry resource center where they can get food, clothing, household items, and stuff like that,” Pierzakowski said.

Along with the food pantry resource center, she began a Crock-Pot Friday class. This class not only provided meals to those in need but provided useful knowledge of cooking on a budget that could be utilized by the families in the future. 

“I invited people to come in from the public and I would teach them how to make a meal for $5 and under in a crockpot. Along with that, they would receive their crockpot and they would receive that meal,” Pierzakowski said. “It was a six-week program, so for six weeks, I knew that the families were getting fed on Fridays and had enough food for the weekends.”

The main influence behind creating this class came from when Pierzakowski was a bus driver for La Porte schools. One conversation with a student opened her eyes to the terrifying reality of families not being able to provide food for themselves and their children. Although the children were given food for the week at school, the parents were not given this luxury.

“I would have kids come and get on the bus and they would say, ‘Mrs. Lisa, where would you hide food if you needed to?’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean where would you hide food?’” Pierzakowski said. “They said if they didn't hide their food their parents would take it. That broke my heart knowing that the parents were taking their food because evidently, the parents didn't have food at home. The kids are in school, getting food, but the parents didn't have food and that's another reason why I started the program.”

When Pierzakowski was driving the bus, she did everything she could to provide for the students that needed it. Small things made a world of difference for those students. 

“I was really inspired me more to want to help more people because I saw the day in and day out of what was going on with kids and families," Pierzakowski said. "I kept a box of hairbrushes, ponytail holders, and stuff like that on the bus and I always had dollars in my pocket. We used to call it dollar Fridays because the kids would a special treat day. I always made sure that the kids that didn't have that dollar had that dollar. I made sure that every kid was going to get something off that treat cart.”

Pierzakowski loved getting to know the students on her bus and being able to help them in any way she could. Although her days as a bus driver are in the past, her days of helping families in need are not going anywhere any time soon.

“I truly miss driving the bus. I miss my kids and I love when I see the kids and they come running up and say, ‘Mrs. Lisa, we miss you!’ It was a great time, but I think I'm able to do more with the job that I'm at now because I'm able to help those families even more than what I could help them as a bus driver,” Pierzakowski said. 

Pierzakowski’s favorite part of her job is working with her clients and watching them grow. The first homeless man that walked into her office is currently working and living in Indianapolis, and he donates money to help others that may be in a similar situation to the one he was in whenever he is able. 

“I tell all my clients, ‘You may be homeless right now living the way you're living, but if you truly don't want to be homeless, we're going to help you get to the next place,’” Pierzakowski said. 

Outside of work, Pierzakowski spends most of her time with her family. She has been married to her husband for over 30 years and has three children as well as what she calls a “bonus child” she supports through the international exchange students program. 

With a passion for helping and supporting people running so deep within her system, Pierzakowski plans on running for office once again. If re-elected, in her next term she will be focusing on solving the homelessness issue.

“I want people to understand that homelessness is one paycheck away, one illness away, one last job away, one sickness away, or one family member’s passing away. Homelessness is not something that just happens. There's a reason why it happens and I wish more people would have a bigger heart and bigger passion to understand homelessness and want to help and work with those less fortunate,” Pierzakowski said. “You never know if it could be one of your kids or one of your relatives, so have the heart and the compassion to want to help the person get to the next place they need to be. I want people to have more compassion sympathy for people.”