MUNCIE, IN – No one should go hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic. With school closures, job disruptions, and health risks, thousands of people in East Central Indiana are turning to Second Harvest Food Bank for much-needed support.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, food bank volunteers are staying home while the need for food is increasing. Gov. Eric J. Holcomb activated Indiana Citizen-Soldiers to deploy resources to assist food banks in Indiana, including Second Harvest Food Bank of ECI.
From the moment they arrived, 30 Army National Guard men and women, who are a part of a Brigade Support Battalion (BSB), have worked with the Second Harvest Food Bank staff to identify the growing needs of the organization.
“This group is great to work with and has interacted well with our team,” said Tim Kean, CEO/President of Second Harvest Food Bank. “Without their presence we would be at a standstill. It’s wonderful to have food in and vehicles to get it out, but if there are no people in the building, it won’t happen.”
Soldiers work alongside Second Harvest staff to fill critical volunteer roles. “I am impressed with the daily goal setting,” expressed Kean. “Every morning, LT Thompson and I walk through the facility to determine what needs to be done. The soldiers are challenged and motivated to meet these goals, giving purpose and reason for what they are doing.”
Lieutenant Thompson is the contact between Second Harvest staff and the soldiers. “During our first three weeks at Second Harvest, we distributed over 6000 packages of food at tailgates, delivered over 300 boxes of food and supplies to schools and nursing homes, and packaged over 3,500 boxes of food. This is all due to having a hard-working, motivated platoon of soldiers,” said LT Thompson, Platoon Leader from A Co. 113th BSB. “None of this would be possible without them and I am thankful I get to work beside them during this time.”
LT Thompson is from Muncie, Indiana, and a Delta High School and Ball State University graduate. “It’s humbling to come back to the community I grew up in and serve in this capacity,” said Thompson. “My dad is a retired Muncie Fireman, so I grew up around volunteerism and supporting our community.” When asked how the soldiers like their job at the Food Bank, LT Thompson continued, “All of the men and women serving Second Harvest feel fortunate to be in East Central Indiana and are grateful for the chance to do their part in helping people by distributing food and supplies.”
On a regular schedule before the COVID-19 pandemic, nine (9) Tailgate Food Distribution events are held throughout eight counties per month. A Tailgate Distribution event is held at a central location in a drive-thru fashion for everyone experiencing a food insecurity moment. No IDs, proof of address or need is required. Come as you are.
In the past six (6) weeks, 1,500,000 pounds of food has been distributed to our neighbors in need during 26 Tailgate Distribution events, as well as, other Second Harvest initiatives:
- 4,800 families that are a part of the thirty-five (35) Second Harvest The Big Idea initiative schools have received 145,000 pounds of food.
- Agency Partners of Second Harvest include soup kitchens, church pantries and shelters, for example. In this same six week period of time, ninety (90) deliveries have been made to Agency Partners, totaling 45,900 pounds of food.
- Neighborhood Association leaders in Delaware County can contact Second Harvest and receive a large passenger van full of food to distribute to neighbors in need. 15,000 pounds of food have helped 750 families in this fashion of distribution during the past six (6) weeks.
“Thank you to the State of Indiana and Governor Holcomb for responding quickly to the crisis. Thank you to the Army National Guard for the tremendous amount of work they are doing. I couldn’t be happier,” said Kean. “Thank you to the communities we serve in East Central Indiana for filling the pipeline with funding that allows our supply line to be filled. Without that, there would be nothing to distribute.”
Visit CureHunger.org for current information on Tailgate and other Food Distribution resources in your area.
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ABOUT SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana is the region’s largest hunger-relief organization serving over 100 pantries and meal programs in Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph and Wabash Counties. With a vision to see people in East Central Indiana free from hunger and self-sufficient, our mission is to provide help for today by feeding the hungry and hope for tomorrow by addressing the causes of food insecurity while empowering people toward self-sufficiency. www.CureHunger.org