We Are GuideStar Gold Certified!

Second Harvest recently earned the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, the world’s largest database of nonprofit organizations.  Less than five percent of non-profits registered with GuideStar are recognized with a Gold Seal. A Gold Seal status is the leading symbol of non-profit transparency and accountability.

The Gold Seal means Second Harvest has published qualitative information about our goals, strategies, and vision.  Second Harvest is dedicated to providing current and potential donors with accurate and in-depth knowledge about the many ways we are responsibly advancing our mission and vision with all donations we receive. 

GuideStar provides a Seal rating (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) on all 1.8 million IRS-registered nonprofit organizations. The goal is to provide as much information as they can so that a donor can make his or her own determination of where to donate money. The elements provided on each nonprofit can include:

  • Verification of registration with the IRS
  • Financial data: Annual Revenue and Expenses, including IRS Forms 990 and independent audit reports
  • Mission Objectives
  • Impact Summary: from the nonprofit
  • Individual reviews from those who’ve volunteered information on the nonprofit either directly through GuideStar or through the partner organization, GreatNonprofits.

This information can then be used by both the nonprofit to encourage prospective donors, and, by donors to best determine who should get their money. Most information is available free online to website visitors. Additional information, plus data in downloadable formats, are available by subscription.

GuideStar is often utilized by businesses, organizations, and foundations to quickly get information on a nonprofit. For example, Google’s giving arm – Google Grants – uses the GuideStar list to verify the existence and registration status of each nonprofit applying for a grant worth $120,000 per year of free AdWords advertising. Because of this reliance by grantmakers, it is important to nonprofits to insure their information is up-to-date and as complete as possible in the GuideStar database. To learn more about GuideStar, visit:, and search for Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana.

Second Harvest is also pleased to announce the upgraded designation to a Four Star Charity Navigator Non–Profit.

Charity Navigator focuses on how and where donations are spent:

  • what is being spent on programs;
  • administrative expenses;
  • fundraising costs; and
  • “fundraising efficiency” – how much do you spend to bring in a $1 of donation?

They also include accountability and transparency utilizing information extracted from our IRS Form 990 and information from our website (governance; independent audits; etc.). The focus is around the charity’s obligation and willingness to expose their business practices to the public and our responsiveness in answering questions about those practices.

Charity Navigator currently rates approximately 8,000 charities on their website and over 7 million people have visited the site to-date to learn more about those organizations. The ratings and underlying data for a nonprofit are available online and free to the public. 

For more information about our rating, visit, and search for Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana.

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Please Give A Warm Welcome to…

Please give a warm welcome to Michael Mitchell, our newest Warehouse Associate! He’s long familiar with warehouse work, but also has experience in the security industry. He finds Second Harvest a bit more challenging. “At my old job, you pulled a few orders and that was it for the day, but here, the orders are constant.” We know he’ll be able to rise to the challenge, and lift us up as he does.

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MLK Day of Service, 1-20-20

Second Harvest had a literal busload of volunteers from Ball State University Student Voluntary Services this afternoon, and we were never without Greek Organizations – Alpha Kappa, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Kappa Delta and more! Thank you so much to every kind-hearted #Volunteer who chose to make #MLKDay #DayOfService a Day On, not a Day Off!

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Donor Recognition: Jack Surface

Jack and Melanie Surface

Each of our donors has a unique and inspirational story tied to their support and giving to Second Harvest, and we’re thrilled to share the impact of Jack Surface, Owner, Midas Auto Experts.

“I’m a firm believer in supporting the communities of Muncie and Anderson, Indiana, who have supported me and my business over these past fifty years,” said Surface. “What better way to say thank you to these two amazing communities than to give back and to give to those who need it.”

As a well-known and well-liked community leader in both the cities of Muncie and Anderson, Jack reached out to Second Harvest during the holidays with a unique fundraiser for Second Harvest by offering all those who listen to a local radio station and who follow both Midas Auto Experts and Second Harvest on social media, a monetary match of online donations up to $5,000. With Jack’s name at the helm, his goal was far exceeded!

“We are so grateful for Jack and the Midas Team. Their commitment to community shows in their generous support of the work we do at Second Harvest,” said Dianne Hovermale, Director of Philanthropy for Second Harvest. “They truly care about their neighbors, and we see them as partners in providing help for today and hope for tomorrow to East Central Indiana.”

From all us at Second Harvest, thank you, Jack, for your energy, creativeness, and ongoing support of our mission and vision.

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Great Finish to a Good Year 

By Tim Kean

Thanks to you, 2019 was a positive year for us. With your help, we have grown The Big Idea initiative (relationship-based initiative) to 35 schools in 8 counties. Over 2,000 families are now engaging with their school at least each month in getting to know the teachers and staff. Positive discussions are happening where little or no contact existed before. 60% of families report feeling more connected to their school. 91% of families reported positive interaction with the teachers and staff while attending The Big Idea.

Our Forward STEPS initiative (relationship based in Delaware Co.) has reported conducting 17 Activation Classes with 16 participants, 39 under-resourced family members met with 27 accountability partners as part of 45 weekly community dinners, with 67 kids enrolled in Youth Enrichment. 18 Empowerment Leaders earned raises on their jobs, 22 leaders accomplished 2 or more sustainability goals and 3 Leaders are new home owners. 11 leaders won new jobs or promotions with their current employers and 29 youth earned honor roll status at school.

Our new 0-5 initiative (families with kids aged 0-5) is now a part of The Big Idea. This new initiative is continuing to be crafted with community partnerships and collaboration that will move forward in early 2020. We are excited to engage with families in ways that will help them see and understand their own empowerment as their child’s first teacher. Positive intentional interaction will stimulate brain development and socialization skills that will help set the stage for being ready to start kindergarten. Diapers, baby supplies, books and interactive kits will provide the parent with the much-needed resources for this interaction to become more routine. We will have some pilot programs in place very soon.

We became a member of the National Diaper Bank, securing a steady supply of this much-needed community resource. We distributed over 8 million pounds of food, which was almost 1 million over 2018! Fresh produce was 34% of that total, up half a million pounds over 2018. Our Senior Safety Net initiative (senior food insecurity) is now at 6 locations in 4 counties with expansion plans at 2 more sites in 2 additional counties early in 2020. The Tailgate Distribution (our direct service mobile food program) provided over 2.6 million pounds of products to struggling families in our drive-through format. Endless energy was provided by our 95 agency partners in 8 counties to distribute over 4 million pounds of products to thousands of neighbors. 

Let’s share some statistics and address some myths that we have researched or have been provided to us by Feeding America and our agency partners. Pantries report that a food insecure family visits a food pantry on average 3.2 times per year. Only 10-15 % of families visiting a food pantry visit every time during the year that they are allowed.  Why is that? Many families are bobbing up and down from month to month with enough resources to make ends meet. A life event happens and they may need to visit a pantry for the next 2 months and then not again for 6 more months. Some families are in a chronic economic circumstance that may never change, will need and seek assistance every month. Families may need to visit more than 1 pantry in a month because the average gap that they face in 7 pounds of food per person in the household every week. That means, if you come from a family of 4 people you may need to access 28 pounds of food this week to cover that gap. The average food pantry provides less than 7 pounds of food per person, so a portion of the gap still remains. Next week means another 28 pounds needs to be located. If a pantry allows a family to come once a month and provides less than a family needs, a family may seek assistance at 6 -8 pantries to try and cover the gap. Not only can they be stigmatized for “gaming the system”, they have to use limited precious resources like gas, bus fare or friendships to navigate around town at odd hours and days of limited operations.

A question I am almost always asked when speaking to a group is concerning our Tailgate Distributions (our direct service drive through program), that is “Don’t you think people are accessing food who really don’t need it (cheating the system) because you have no qualifications to receive it?”  My answer is always YES. I qualify my response by saying it’s not a question of if there is abuse, but how much. I spent 30 years in the grocery business before my food bank life and statically there were about 1-2 % of “customers” who were shoplifters. I believe that still holds true today. People have challenged that over the years and I’m fine with that. Believing the number is 5 or 10 or even 20% may say something about someone’s own sad biased view about their fellow human beings, so whatever helps them sleep at night. Even if the extreme number of 20% were true, then 80% would still be there for the right reason. I also relate that families line up at these venues and wait many times for 4 hours or longer with some occasionally spending the night in line. If a family will wait 4 hours to receive some assistance my guess is they need it. I consider that program self-policing. I don’t know anyone personally who’s cheated on their taxes, but I suspect that may still happen and I don’t believe it’s 20%. I sleep very well. Thanks for your support and have a great day!





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New Decade, New Lights!

If you’ve been out to our Warehouse recently, you might have noticed a big change – it’s about three times as well lit! The new lights were installed by Perfect Lighting Solutions over the space of a few days and the difference is sensational.

Before the upgrade, 40% of our warehouse lighting fixtures were at least partially out, and the supply room, where we store our materials and files, only had 5 of 19 lights working. With funding from the Ball Brothers Foundation, and contributions from many staff members to make the project go smoothly, we were able to work with Perfect Lighting Solutions to install over 50 lights in and around our warehouse and nearly 20 lights in our supply room. Our Warehouse staff put in extra hours on the weekends, finding ways to keep the space safely illuminated with the power shut off for the installation. 

The exterior lighting will allow drivers much more security. These lights are also noticeably more energy-efficient, furthering Second Harvest’s sustainability goals. New lighting will allow staff and volunteers to work safely and effectively in our facility to ensure that each community that we serve in East Central Indiana receives the food and resources they need for a better tomorrow.
If you’d like to see the lights in person, come out for a tour of our warehouse to hear about everything we’re doing, or stay to volunteer!  
This post originally went out as part of our First Monday Mailing – if you’d like to get signed up for our First Monday Mailings, click here!
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Increasing Access to Healthy Food, Together

by David McNichols and Tim Kean

Lacking reliable access to sufficient, healthy food is a problem that cuts across all lines – gender, age, race and geography. In Indiana, 1 in 8 people struggle with food insecurity and, within the eight counties served by Second Harvest, nearly 65,000 people – about 15 percent – struggle with this issue every day.

Food insecurity can be more prevalent in rural areas compared to urban areas, which is ironic since rural and farm communities’ productivity provides low-cost wholesome food for consumers.

This situation should not happen in our neighborhoods and to our fellow Hoosiers. But, we also know that this issue is best addressed by working together.

Recently, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Second Harvest announced a collaboration that aims to see people in East Central Indiana free from hunger. Through a three-year commitment from Anthem, Second Harvest will be able to organize 92 Senior Safety Net Distributions and 108 Tailgate Distributions each year. Through these events alone, Second Harvest will be able to provide annually nearly 2.1 million pounds of food – translating to about 1,750,000 meals.

The Senior Safety Net initiative is designed to create an easy-to-access location for seniors to receive nutritious foods. This initiative is intended to have a grocery shopping experience where seniors have a choice in the food they receive. This program has been part of our focus since August of 2016. There are some additional benefits we hope to bring forward in 2020 with the new Anthem partnership. Health and wellness educational topics, along with the socialization of meeting together as community can add value to this important event.

Second Harvest’s Tailgate Program meets people where they live by taking food to a central location in each of the eight counties the food bank serves and local volunteers help load cars as they drive through. This initiative has been part of our focus for over 15 years and positively impacts thousands of families every month. The typical or average experience in each county looks like 300 cars of families or roughly 1,000 people that receive approximately 30,000 pounds of food in about 2 ½ hours. The emphasis for this program has been fresh produce as quantities and varieties vary from month to month.

Anthem has also been using healthy food in its whole-person approach to health care in helping its consumers. The health insurance provider recognizes that access to nutritious food is one of the many factors that plays a significant role in allowing individuals to lead healthier lives. Anthem provides nutritious delivered meals in many of its Medicare Advantage plans to members who recently returned home from a hospital stay, allowing these individuals to focus on their recovery and not worry about cooking. This healthy meal delivery benefit is part of Anthem’s wellness services that also include access to health-related transportation, an allowance for an assistive device, and alternative medicine.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Second Harvest are committed to improving the community we serve and the lives of Hoosiers. Imagine what life could be like for the hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers struggling with food insecurity if they no longer had to worry about reliable access to healthy food. How much better would life be for older adults if they didn’t have to worry about making the choice between healthy food and their medications? Addressing food insecurity will improve lives.

David McNichols is President of Anthem’s Medicare Central Region and is responsible for leading and managing the growth and overall performance of Medicare products – including Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage and Part D – in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Tim Kean is the President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana. The Second Harvest Food Bank network of 95-member agencies, programs and 35 schools provide food assistance and relationship building to more than 65,000 low-income people facing daily instability in Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph and Wabash Counties.

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A New Growth Opportunity is Coming

2020 is soon upon us. It just a little over 10 weeks to January! That’s right, January, not Thanksgiving, which is in 5 weeks. 2020 annual budgets are being finalized by many businesses and organizations. Looking forward may be slightly painful if my 2019 to-do list still has a lot of active items, which it does. The time is short to consider any systematic changes to impact this year. Change is inevitable and on-going. We live in motion every day, so changes continue and new opportunities are discovered that didn’t exist last year.  We will always continue to look for opportunities to partner with other organizations, take bold steps, stretch our abilities and resources to impact under-resourced families.

A brand-new growth opportunity for us is in becoming a Diaper Bank. We are beginning to acquire a steady supply of diapers that will be added to our inventory. Our application to become a member of the National Diaper Bank has been submitted and we anticipate final approval very soon. Sunni Matters, our Director of Long-Term Initiatives, and Allison Snoddy, a community member filled with passion for the topic will both be attending the National Diaper Bank Conference this week in Cincinnati. Allison was a board member with another Diaper Bank located in Indiana before she and her family recently moved to Delaware County. We have asked for membership status as The Diaper Bank of East Central Indiana, which includes all of our 8-county service area. We see this relationship as one of many we are forming as we move forward with our new initiative that is focused on families with children aged 0-5.

We have always had some connection with families that have young children through The Big Idea, Forward STEPS and food distribution initiatives, but we are taking it to a new level with some specific partnerships, pilot programming and some new inventory identified for ages 0-5 children and family members. As we have learned through our engagements with 35 schools and counting in our 8-county service area, the vital achievement of 3rd grade reading level is greatly impacted from what happens with the child at age 0-3 years old. A little over 4 years ago our board and I agreed that we need to be more holistic in our approach to this work. To that end, we have moved forward with what is now Forward S.T.E.P.S. and The Big Idea, focused on relationship building with families that will help identify paths for progress aimed at a self-sustainable life, free of the need for social safety net services.

These initiatives have led the way toward our engagement with young families and new-borns to form relationships that have reading, learning and social development as fundamental milestones before the children engage in pre-school, kindergarten. We know that long-standing trailblazing efforts have been in place in several of our communities such as Born Learning, By5, Early Head-Start and Huffer Memorial just to name a few. We have been in conversations with some for well over a year and are finalizing partnership plans for at least one agency pilot program to roll out in January, 2020.

This long-view look at systemic and generational approaches to family engagement, development and self-sustainability fits well within our team structure to leverage the resources entrusted to us by all the communities we serve. The “Cradle to Career” concept that is championed at By5 is a great over-view for what some of the key elements are to affect change that is long lasting. In our 4th year of living into this holistic ideal, along with our relationship-based staff and logistical strength with community support we are positioned to be a partner organization, a leader or a champion for the long haul.     

Tim Kean, President and CEO

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Seasonal Changes and New Opportunities

I was looking over some of our history as I begin think about planning our budget for 2020. Typing in that year, 2020 seems kind of weird to me. I remember concerns that all computers would crash at the end of 1999, that’s really weird. That also means we are now entering into a new decade, wow, that seems too quick as well, but here we are. More pressing, I am now entering into my Fall Season mentality. I work outside in the yard a lot throughout most of the entire year. It’s funny now that I think about it. I spend 3 months getting things to grow, 4 months trying to keep them alive and looking good, then 2 months cleaning it all up and putting things away and 3 months keeping winter cleaned up and getting things ready to start over again. I enjoy doing each part and Florida wouldn’t offer those same opportunities. The change of season has a ripple effect. It becomes harder to have enough daylight to get the grass cut after work before it gets too dark.

The change of season also affects the food we can access through our donation channels in the food industry. I remember several years ago getting many pallets of popcorn in 50 lb. bags. Those opportunities aren’t around anymore, but that’s ok because they were very hard to find a suitable home. I’m old enough to remember cooking popcorn in a pan on top of the stove, but as a kid, that was a rare treat around our house. I love microwave popcorn! Microwave popcorn is quick, easy, delicious and it comes in its own serving container. Don’t you wish everything was as straight-forward as that. Food consumption habits change with the season and that brings back some items we haven’t seen for a while. As local home grown tomatoes are winding down, too bad, but new crop local apples are ready to harvest.

I recall about 3 years ago, one of the semi loads of donated food we received was a load of Honeycrisp apples. That same week, I happened to see a supermarket ad that featured Honeycrisp apples for $1.99 per lb. I visited a different supermarket that was selling Honeycrisp apples for $3.99 per lb. That load of apples we received had a consumer retail value of roughly over $100,000! That would be similar to receiving a donated semi load of Ground Beef! We were thrilled to get that load and got those delicious apples in the hands of struggling families very quickly. That was possibly the first time many low income families would have tasted a Honeycrisp apple.

Three years ago we were experiencing a lot of growth with a new school initiative and some of those apples were being distributed to the families involved.  At that time we were working with 12 schools in 3 counties. Now, that initiative has been branded The Big Idea and we are working with 35 schools in 8 counties and more are in the future. All our conversations with potential funders, volunteers and school administrations have been positive from the first meetings and popping up all over our 8 county service area like that microwave popcorn I was mentioning. Our opportunities for this initiative are expanding all the time. If you don’t have this initiative already happening or being discussed at your school, start asking some questions. Honeycrisp apples could be coming on the next delivery.

Since this time 3 years ago, we have re-branded our relationship based family initiative to Forward S.T.E.P.S. and have a new focus on under-resourced working families. There were some amazing success stories we witnessed at our most recent graduating class celebration. Video is available if you currently receive our monthly e-newsletter called First Monday. If you would like to receive it send us your email address at In the last 3 years we have also rolled out an initiative called Senior Safety Net, which provides monthly assistance to struggling seniors now at 6 sites in 3 counties. Who knows, in the next 3 years how many new partnerships, coordinated collaborations and initiatives we will be involved in to shorten the line of need? We need your engagement to make that happen.

Tim Kean, President and CEO of Second Harvest

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Generosity Generates Many Benefits

Amazing generosity is hard to describe, but we know it when we experience it. Very recently, we have had the great pleasure of experiencing it in a few different forms. Last Sunday afternoon, my wife and I were invited over to my mother-in-law’s home for a family dinner. My sister-in-law and husband were in from Ft. Wayne. After dinner, my mother-in-law explained she wanted to show me something that she had been making. She showed me a king-size hand-made quilt that she and my sister-in-law hand been working on and off for 2 years to complete. Each square was a depiction of a character or story from the Bible and had an amazing level of detail. She said they had made the quilt for me. I was over-whelmed by their generosity. It will certainly be a wonderful family heirloom. Obviously, everyone knew why we were having the dinner but me.

Last Sunday evening, a private dinner at an Anderson couple’s home was an evening to remember. The dinner, attended by 22 people, was an opportunity to experience great food and wine aimed at raising money for Second Harvest. The 5 course dinner was prepared by Chef Alan Sternberg of Field Brewing and Cerulean fame. This 30-year-old executive Chef is ranked among the top young chefs in the country and was a Rising Star Chef of the Year semifinalist in the 2016 and 2018 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards. The Winemaker is Jean-Noel Fourmeaux of VGS Chateau Potelle Winery located in Napa Valley, California. The wines were represented and shared by Michel Pascal of the Carroll Wine Company located in Indianapolis. Each course had a special wine selected to compliment the food. The evening was filled with great stories and lots of fun. Several gifts were also sent by those invited, but who were unable to attend. This amazing generosity by the hosts and invitees raised over $50,000 that evening.

Have you ever been on the giving or the receiving end of amazing generosity? Some donors have told me about their experiences with making gifts and how it made them feel. Sometimes there’s public recognition involved and sometimes it’s very quiet.

A comprehensive review of more than 500 studies on why people give conducted by researchers at the University of Notre Dame drew some interesting conclusions. Giving is more common among people who are religious, have higher levels of education, own a home, are married and live in smaller towns…People are more likely to give when they understand the need they are fulfilling and when they can relate to the cause they are supporting. A longitudinal study by researchers at the University of Buffalo found that people who engaged in helping behaviors with their neighbors and friends, such as running errands, cooking meals, or providing child care, reduced their mortality rates compared with those who did not help. And a 2007 study published in the journal Science found donating to a charity activates neural activity in areas of the brain that are linked to reward processing – the same areas that are activated by pleasures like eating and sex.

Giving is Good for You“, Psychology Today Nov. 22, 2017

We are engaging lots of generous people in discussing the reach and impact of our initiatives. The conversation isn’t always about financial support, but can be a number of ways to engage. We have a need for volunteers on a regular basis and opportunities in all 8 counties. We also have needs for specialized talents and career discussions with kids through The Big Idea. Time, talent and treasure are greatly appreciated and can make amazing generosity rewarding for you!   

Tim Kean, President and CEO

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