[3-17-20] Second Harvest Food Bank, the region’s largest hunger-relief organization with a network of 96 agency partners and 35 schools in Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph and Wabash counties, is carefully monitoring developments regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“Our first concern is your health and well-being. We stand with community leaders in our shared responsibility to protect lives,” said Tim Kean, CEO/President of Second Harvest. “As a food bank, we are skilled at disaster and emergency response. We are coordinating with local agencies and disaster response teams to activate the strategies that will help us mitigate hunger in the weeks to come.”
Processes that are Changing
Increased Tailgate Food Distributions: Second Harvest Food Bank is ramping up the number of times we purchase and secure semi-truck loads of food from several times per month to several times per week.
Second Harvest will get food out quickly through our Agency Partners. Agency Partners provide hunger-relief services to schools, food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. We are encouraging our network of 96 Agency Partners in our service area to not close, but add more frequent food distributions held outside their facility with pre-bagged food in a drive-thru fashion, for example.
It is important to note that all 35 schools in Second Harvest’s eight-county region that participate in our Big Idea initiative are receiving food distributions at their regular time and date.
“If your school or school system is not listed on the Second Harvest website, www.CureHunger.org, and you need food or other assistance, please contact your school directly, “ shared Sunni Matters, Director of Long-Term Initiatives. “In keeping in touch with all school systems in our service area, school staff is still reporting to the school and can answer questions.”
Neighborhood Distributions: “Second Harvest is reaching out to neighborhood association leaders to offer our assistance,” shared Mr. Kean, “We don’t want people to feel like they need to organize a location, purchase food, and distribute on their own. Second Harvest can significantly leverage every dollar.”
More distribution locations and partnerships are being discussed. Please watch our website for updated information.
Our goal for Second Harvest Food Bank, at this time, is to increase food availability to our communities in phases. As quickly as we coordinate new efforts, we will implement new procedures to get the food out.
How you can help: Time, Talent, Treasure
Time: Second Harvest depends significantly on volunteers to help sort food in our warehouse, assist with tailgate food distributions, and a variety of other tasks.
“Much of our generous volunteer network is made up of older adults who are more vulnerable to serious illness due to COVID-19 infection. We ask them to stay home and stay safe if they need to in order to protect themselves,” said Kellie Arrowood, Volunteer Coordinator for Second Harvest.
Talent: “We are calling those who are healthy and able to step up in this time of need so that we can continue to do the critical work of feeding vulnerable community members,” continued Arrowood. You can contact Kellie by calling the office at 765-287-8698, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or offer your help online.
Second Harvest is a safe place to be. New procedures are in place for COVID-19 when you enter the facility. Hand washing and sanitizing are required, as well as, wearing gloves at all times in the warehouse. There is plenty of room to practice “social distancing” when working in the warehouse or at a tailgate food distribution.
Treasure: Though canned food drives loom large in the charitable imagination, the most effective way to give to food banks is actually financially. No gift is too small – everyone grows when everyone gives.
Food banks can access food from wholesalers that allow them to purchase goods at a discount. Second Harvest Food Bank can provide enough food for four meals with a $1 donation, for example. Please Donate Here.
A new initiative will be announced soon to address community support during this critical time. “As we step out in faith and incur extra expenses, we are hoping the community will respond,” said Mr. Kean, CEO/President.
Watch our website for regular and added tailgate distributions, volunteer opportunities and other resource information.