Help for Today Hope for Tomorrow

We have finished our Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2019. Our board has set us on a course with an updated Vision Statement and Mission Statement.

The Vision Statement – Our vision is to see people in East Central Indiana free from hunger and self-sufficient.

The Mission Statement –Our Mission is to provide help for today by feeding the hungry and hope for tomorrow by addressing the causes of food insecurity and empowering people toward self-sufficiency.

This can be summarized as providing Help for Today and Hope for Tomorrow for our 8-county service area. Help for Today means that we need to continue to evaluate and sharpen our existing programs, and look at the creation of new programs and collaborations where there are gaps in the delivery of service. The distribution system we operate with has some inherent challenges. Dedicated groups of independent operators (food pantries) can bring much into this discussion as we examine national best practices across the Feeding America network. The idea of continuing to do things the same way and expecting different/better results as we consider what results we need will be interesting dialogue. The current model we use in food pantries and our Tailgate Distribution (mobile food pantry) is kind of a generalized approach. We provide food assistance through these programs to basically anyone who shows up at the distribution time. Both these approaches have been used for decades so we must ask ourselves, are we hitting the mark that we intend to hit? Can we use best practices to help us and our agency partners to come closer to a more impactful outcome?

Hope for Tomorrow will lead us to look at the root causes of food insecurity. We will need to collaborate with an extensive group of partners to “shorten the line” of those in need. Advocacy, education and facilitation of discussions and activities will all play a role in moving forward, but this is not enough. If we engage in empowering people toward self-sufficiency, we will need to line up some programmatic opportunities for struggling people to find their way out of the struggle. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to develop new programming, but look at opportunities to engage with others who are tackling this topic so together we can leverage assets and energy to be more impactful. Can we align so that 1+1 = 2 ½?

If we can make progress to “shorten the line” of need, won’t that relieve some pressure on challenges in help for today?

We have to aim at the bulls-eye, not the general vicinity of the target. Using a generalized approach of how we disperse all our resources will not move the needle. Fighting a battle on all fronts just exhausts everyone and depletes precious resources much too rapidly. We will consider some prioritization on how we go forward with programming. Our top priority for our programming will be addressing Childhood Hunger. Our second level of priority will be Seniors and The Disabled. Our third level will be Adults between 18 and 60 with no kids at home. Our new relationships/collaborations will get us closer to the vision of seeing people free from hunger and self-sufficient. There are approximately 75,000 people in 8 counties that need help for today and hope for tomorrow.

We are looking at 2016 with excitement. Join with us to make a difference in someone’s life.


Written by Tim Kean

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