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A Local Partnership in Action

Anderson based, Carter Express held a bonus tailgate food distribution for Madison County residents on June 5, at the Nichol Avenue tailgate location in the old Kmart parking lot. In conjunction with Second Harvest, this extra tailgate was made possible by the money raised by Carter’s fund drive and covered the cost of sponsorship for the tailgate.

As a company we want to do as much as we can to serve our local community, said Jessica Paugh Warnke, Director of Marketing and Communications at Carter Express. Second Harvest is the largest provider of food pantries and meeting the needs of residents in Madison County so it was a perfect fit for us. At Carter Express, tailgate sponsorship such as this one come from the employee-ran Community Action Committee (CAC) who work with multiple nonprofits in Madison County.

“We believe in what Second Harvest is trying to achieve and we’d all like to see hunger erased in the community,” Warnke said. “By partnering with an organization like Second Harvest that has so much experience and such a good reputation, it’s an easy way for us to give to the community with a partner who knows what they’re doing.”

In these upcoming months, hunger is at the forefront of the CAC’s focus, especially with children getting ready to be home for the summer and not having access to the free meals they would get during the academic year. “Hunger not only affects the employees but it affects everybody in the community,” CAC co-chair Robyn Bogenschutz said. “It affects the employees because we live here. We see it. Just driving down the road, we see it every day; people on the street corners needing money for food. We want to be part of the community and help make where we live and work better.”

Carter provided the opportunity for their employees to help in all logistics of the extra tailgate such as driving, collecting the food from Second Harvest, setting up, tearing down and distributing food in addition to donating the money.

The CAC logs all of the volunteer hours, all of their other initiatives as well as the amount of grants given. The log is sent back to their parent company, Hitachi, Ltd. Hitachi does a national food drive every year and as one of the partnering companies, Carter has been involved for four years.

President and CEO John Paugh said “I’m proud of our employees for the work they have done with the CAC so far and I’m excited to see what the future holds for Carter’s community advocacy.”

Second Harvest is thrilled to have this community partnership with Carter Express. The total support for this food distribution was a great example of what is possible when people respond to the needs of the community. Thousands of struggling people benefited from the Carter Express team on June 5. Contact me at tkean@curehunger.org or 765-287-8698 if your organization would like to partner with Second Harvest Food Bank as well.

Written by Tim Kean

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Activities are a Buzzing at Second Harvest

We are in the midst of our strategic plan refresh which will take us into 2018. This is a realistic look at today and a visionary look to our future. Local relationships are expanding. Purdue University School of Technology continues to engage more interest from local companies who see this as a direct way to engage the topic of food insecurity and what role they could play. Our relationship with Ball State University continues to expand the opportunities in immersive learning for students from several areas of study. Students are seeking us out for prime internship opportunities. Established professor networking continues to provide meaningful team projects for several classes with additional focus in Public Relations and Journalism. Anderson University will also provide some opportunities for student and faculty engagement as we move toward the reality of a Hunger Free Zone established in the community hopefully during 2015. This would involve several additional programming components in addition to food distribution, more to come later.

Other areas getting attention are diverse. We are currently vetting the idea of establishing a Food Hub in Delaware County for East Central Indiana. This is a little different than a farmers market. The closest one currently in operation is in Greenfield. We have the facility footprint large enough to support one and it would be very much in line with what we do every day, to get perishable foods moved to consumption points.

Testing is underway for a potential alternative program we currently operate that is directed to low-income seniors funded through the USDA. We believe we can provide more food to more low-income seniors with less government red-tape than the current program allows. We are excited to get some feedback from seniors, distribution site volunteers and potential funders from our test counties to help us reach a decision. We hope to have a decision by the end of this month.

Composting has been on our radar for a few years now. We are working with Farmished, another not-for-profit who has been in conversation with us for almost a year. Michael Wolfe, Founder, President and Chairman of the Board of Farmished and his team are focused on establishing a sustainable food system in the local community. We can supply a lot of the material (food) that is past its prime to feed the compost pile and together we can produce a marketable product. The acreage that Farmished now owns is going to be a great site for several programming pieces we hope to develop together. We are waiting to hear results from a grant request for solar panels (educational programming and reduced energy footprint), also funding for some of the composting equipment. Community garden activity and food distribution are also part of the overall plan.

We are also visioning some new community-based educational activities and revenue generating entertainment located on our complex of just over 36 acres, all aimed at providing us with an additional sustainable source of income. Looks like 2015 will be eventful.

Written by Tim Kean

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