Feeding Off of the Community Energy

It is always exciting this time of year to read my email or pick up the ringing telephone and engage with an excited people who want to get knee-deep in our mission. There are many creative approaches that people come up with to address the challenges faced by thousands in the local community. As new developments continue to be rolled out through technology advancement, the business community and even individuals shopping on-line can just click and a donation can be made by the business to the buyer’s favorite charity. Such is the case for AmazonSmile. For over a year now, if you are planning to order through Amazon, you can visit smile.amazon.com to easily register to have 0.5% of your purchase price to be donated by Amazon to your favorite charity.

Help is on the way! Have you ever been in a difficult circumstance and heard those reassuring words? Last week we put out a message that we were experiencing a very low level of inventory and asked everyone in our service area to help if they could. Our inventory has been running at least 10 semi-loads lower that normal and it was affecting our ability to provide much variety to supply all the 115 agencies and 20 schools who are working hard to provide front-line emergency food provisions. We have been contacted by 3 different news agencies to do follow up articles on more behind the scenes information. We are seeing a response from the communities to help us and the inventory has begun to improve, but still a long way from where it needs to be. These things take time to change. We are talking about getting food from further away than normal and that costs more in freight to get it here. It is a daily topic here and will be for the foreseeable future, but we need to keep pushing for more progress.

I could not be more proud of our staff. They are a small group of dedicated, caring people who come here and do amazing things every day. Over the last 2 years, we have stretched ourselves beyond where we have traditionally been. We have morphed into areas of programming that are aimed at identifying the root causes of hunger and poverty as our top priorities. We are focused on relationship building to drive change for the families in poverty who seriously want to achieve a level of self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty. This longer term programming is a multi-year, slow burn approach that has the potential for families to make changes in their own lives that will have a generational impact to shorten the line of need.

We are committed to providing short term, emergency hunger relief FOR families, but are working very hard in these new program areas to engage WITH families in positive relationship building that will bring about lasting change. This carries over to the next generation and can establish a “New Normal” that can be lived out without the need for social safety net services. It is achievable, but you have a critical role to play to move it forward. Contact us if you’re ready to engage.

Tim Kean is the President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana. The Second Harvest Food Bank network of 115-member agencies, programs and 20 schools to provide food assistance to more than 70,000 low-income people facing hunger in Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph and Wabash Counties.

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