As we enter the fall season, many of us begin to think about the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving. We allow ourselves to daydream about the turkey we will eat, the pumpkin pie, the too-large serving of mashed potatoes… our mouths are watering just thinking about it. Unfortunately, this meal, that we can so clearly visualize, is not a reality for many of our neighbors. 1 in 7 people in East Central Indiana are hungry. 1 in 7. To put this in perspective, around 74,000 people in East Central Indiana are experiencing hunger. Where we are able to daydream about one upcoming meal, over a month away, others are daydreaming about any meal as they aren’t sure where their next meal will come from. This is the reality of our community, and it’s a reality that Second Harvest Food Bank is working to change.
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana was founded in 1983 and hasn’t stopped fighting hunger since. As a non-profit organization, funded by philanthropic and community support, they are devoted to feeding the hungry, advocating for those facing food insecurity, and providing nutrition education. Second Harvest serves as the region’s largest hunger-relief organization with a network of 96 agency partners and 39 schools in Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph, and Wabash counties.
Second Harvest’s mission is to provide help for today by feeding the hungry and hope for tomorrow by addressing the causes of food insecurity while empowering people toward self-sufficiency. Their programming focuses on that mission by centering around those two main ideas: help for today and hope for tomorrow.
HELP FOR TODAY
- Mobile Distributions – Mobile Distributions, including tailgates, vans, and small community distributions, work with local volunteers to deliver food directly to neighborhoods.
- Agency Partners – Agency Partners are non-profit organizations that distribute food, meals, and other resources to increase access for as many neighbors in need as possible.
- Operation Full Pack – In 2021 Second Harvest launched Operation Full Pack, which increases access for veteran and active military families needing additional supplies of food and other resources. This initiative has proven wildly popular, and Second Harvest is currently providing information and resources to other food banks to pilot this same initiative in their communities.
- Senior Safety Net – The Senior Safety Net creates easy-to-access locations for vulnerable adults over the age of 60 to receive nutritious foods and other resources.
HOPE FOR TOMORROW
- The Big Idea – There are over 18,000 children in East-Central Indiana who don’t have reliable, nutritious meals, along with other barriers to success caused by poverty. The Big Idea initiative unites schools, families, and resource providers in order to distribute resources, build connections, and create opportunities for children to chart a path to long-term stability.
- Forward STEPS – Forward STEPS is a relationship-based empowerment initiative designed to walk alongside under-resourced working families on the journey to self-sufficiency. Forward STEPS makes an impact in the community by providing programs to educate people about the issues that surround poverty and food insecurity.
The mission and programming of Second Harvest alone is powerful and inspiring. However, Second Harvest has taken it one step further. In addition to caring for our local community, Second Harvest has also made a commitment to our planet through its Green Initiative. As we evaluate our own environmental impact here at MJ, we find it inspiring to see other organizations doing the same. Second Harvest has committed to reducing its environmental footprint by installing solar panels at their executive office, installing LED lighting in their warehouse, and mitigating their CO2 emissions through their food bank. In 2020, Second Harvest itself has mitigated over 4,000,000 kg of CO2 emissions through donated food that would otherwise have gone to a landfill.
Overcoming poverty is one of MJ Foundation’s four paths to making a difference. MJ is committed to supporting causes that bring about lasting change. Our Purpose is rooted in inspiring the success, wellbeing, and fulfilment of each individual we serve, which includes the communities in which we live and work. The work of Second Harvest Food Bank aligns with everything we stand for at MJ, and we encourage you to get involved. See ways to help below:
- Donate – Each dollar that is donated to Second Harvest can mean up to four meals for an individual in need.
- Volunteer – There are many ways to volunteer at Second Harvest. From working in the warehouse to attending a tailgate, there’s a way to give back for everyone!
- Host a Food Drive – You can donate food through hosting a food drive! Second Harvest will even provide your group with signs and boxes for your food drive.
- Advocate – Advocacy is a key component in Second Harvest’s approach to eliminating hunger across East Central Indiana. You can help spread the word through social media and connecting with elected officials and public policymakers in the fight against hunger and poverty. (This is a great way for everyone to get involved even if you don’t live in Indiana as hunger affects the entire nation!)
So, as you find yourself fantasizing over that big upcoming holiday meal, we encourage you to stop and consider how you can help ensure that this is a reality for the entire community. We know we will.
For more information, please visit: https://curehunger.org/.