Mission: To provide help today and hope for tomorrow by addressing the causes of food insecurity.
About the Organization: One in six Indiana residents today are struggling with food insecurity. More than half of these are children and senior citizens. And hunger is a symptom of other poverty issues, including poor physical and mental health, unemployment or under-employment, homelessness, lack of educational achievement, and lack of transportation. Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana was founded in 1983 with the help of philanthropic and community support to positively affect the lives of those it serves and assist them with additional services designed to improve their food security situation and build a path to a brighter future. Second Harvest is a member of Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States, which allows it to access donated product, professional resources, and a network of other like-minded organizations across the country.
Current Programs: In addition to its agency food pantries and soup kitchens, Second Harvest offers several programs that target the unique needs of food-insecure community members. The organization's drive-through Tailgate Program provides over two million pounds of food each year directly to people in need in the eight East Central Indiana counties it serves; its Senior Safety Net Program supports seniors in Delaware and Madison county communities who struggle to obtain the food they need and, in some locations, provides seniors with opportunities to socialize, another critical quality-of-life component often lacking in their lives; and its College Pantry Program, which is run by students for students, partners with institutions of higher education to meet the food needs of students.
More than 20 percent of children in East Central Indiana are food insecure and more than 24 percent live in poverty. To help address the problem, the Second Harvest School Pantry Program supports children and families in Delaware, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph and Wabash counties with their food needs and helps build relationships between families and schools. And the organization's Forward S.T.E.P.S. (Support Transforming Empowerment Pathways to Sustainability) helps highly-motivated individuals living in poverty to identify barriers to success, set goals to overcome those barriers, and ultimately achieve self-sufficiency.
COVID-19 Response: In response to the increased demand for food created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Second Harvest is boosting its efforts in its eight-county service area (Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph, and Wabash counties) to supply its network of ninety-six agency partners and thirty-five schools with food and resources. That includes a ramping up of Tailgate Distribution schedules in all eight counties, from nine Tailgates a month to twenty-five, and providing two semi-loads of food (instead of one) at larger sites. It also has moved to pre-bag and box food for distribution to its Senior Safety Net sites, as well as Forward STEPS and lower-volume pantry partners, and has streamlined its warehouse operations for agency ordering and distribution by pre-selecting the items and orders it receives and moving to a less-variety/larger-quantity model.
Website: The clean, easy-to-navigate Second Harvest website provides easy access to the organization's "vital statistics" (support and revenue, expenses), program descriptions, forms and resources an agency might need if it is affiliated with the organization, and COVID updates. Visitors to the site can also learn how to connect with the resources they need; keep up to date with Second Harvest news and events; and learn more about donating to and/or volunteering/advocating for the organization.
Funding: Second Harvest is supported by foundations, corporations, United Ways, and individuals.