Last month, I had the privilege to participate on a panel with some great minds called Food for Thought: How Hoosiers Can Hunger (WFYI will broadcast that panel Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. on 90.1 FM). The panel featured Roger Thurow, author of Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty, and Ted McKinney, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at Elanco. While Thurow and McKinney are experts in global hunger issues and agroscience, respectively, my role on the panel provided a local perspective on hunger issues facing our community.
As chairman of the board of directors of Second Helpings, I’m often a part of community conversations addressing hunger and poverty. No matter the topic or setting, conversations about hunger and poverty always seem overwhelming. But time and time again, I remind myself of the old cliché – “How do you eat an elephant? – one bite at a time.” Yes, there are systematic, global supply and distribution issues that keep hunger and poverty growing worldwide, but to me it’s personal. I have neighbors in my city facing hunger every day that are closer to me than I would have ever imagined.
That’s why I’m attached to Second Helpings’ mission of eliminating hunger and empowering people using resources that already exist. We call our three part mission of Food Rescue, Hunger Relief and Culinary Job Training, “Eliminating poverty at its source”. Not only have we found a way to create a food distribution system using food that would otherwise go to waste, we also use that food to train individuals in the culinary arts, providing a vehicle for impoverished and displaced adults find meaningful careers for themselves, thus ending the cycle of poverty at it’s source. On top of that, the food that we can’t use in our programs is swiftly taken off to stock the shelves of food pantries around the city.
Yes, we’ve rescued close to 15 million pounds of food. We’ve prepared and delivered over 5 million meals to area social service agencies to feed their people, and we have graduated 431 men and woman who have gone off to find their own path to success. We’re proud of those numbers, but we also know that there’s no end in site for Hoosiers facing hunger and poverty. So, we’ll keep working one meal at a time, one individual at a time. We know that we’ll never eat the whole elephant, but we know we have to keep trying.
You can learn more about our work at www.secondhelpings.org. And, don’t forget to tune in to WFYI, 90.1 FM, on Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m.
This post was written by Jerry Adams. Jerry is chairman of the board of directors at Second Helpings, and the director of operations at Levy Restaurants at Conseco Fieldhouse.
*If you add your voice to this hunger conversation (meaning you make a comment, below), you’ll be registered to win a signed copy of Enough!