INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - People all across Indianapolis know they'll at least have a hot meal for dinner each day, thanks to Second Helpings.
The local community kitchen is reaching out for help because a main ingredient is critically low.
Second Helpings rescues overstocked, damaged cases of food and food nearing expiration, and turns it into 4,000 meals a day. Those meals go to the community's senior centers, shelters and children's programs.
"The meals we provide are going to places like Wheeler Mission, the Julian Center, Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the community, senior centers, low income child care and after-school programs," said Second Helpings CEO Jennifer Vigran. "It’s making sure that kids who might not get a good, nutritious meal at the end of the day are getting something to eat that will help them as they’re going through the evening. They have the nutrition they need to study hard and work hard."
A big part of the Second Helpings menu is pasta. They go through 100 pounds of pasta a day.
"If you think about it, pasta has a shelf life of forever so we don’t get enough of it from our normal food donors," said Vigran. "This is where church groups and scouting troops and school groups and business groups all come in because most of the pasta we use here is donated through pasta drives that are operated through the city. Over the summer, our pasta levels tend to get a little low because school is not in session and other things. Right now, it’s very, very low."
"We all sort of think about hunger and food insecurity throughout the community especially over the holidays, but it is a year round problem. Even though kids may be getting meals at school and other places, there are still weekends and there are still school vacations. There are still a lot of times where it’s really important that we make sure the community is there for those children and those families each and every day."
"Anyone can do a pasta drive. It can be as simple as one person bringing in whatever pasta they can collect from their own purchases, from themselves or their neighbors and family members, or it can be on a much larger scale with businesses and churches. Whatever people can do, it definitely does help."
If you'd rather make a financial donation, that's also a big help. It takes $1.05 a serving to rescue, prepare and deliver the food, so financial donations go a long way.
"We continue to have more and more hunger relief partners who come to Second Helpings and there are two reasons for that," said Vigran. "One is certainly that food insecurity continues to be a big problem in our community, but also we know the meals that we provide are helping organizations expand their program and serve more people. It’s also helping organizations financially because if you look at places like Wheeler Mission or the Julian Center, those are meals they don’t have to go out and buy and prepare, so they instead can spend their dollars on their core mission."
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