30 Days of Thanksgiving Community

Second Helpings – 30 Days of Thanksgiving

At F.C. Tucker we talk a lot about “paying our civic rent,” so for the month of November, we would like to express our gratitude to the many organizations and individuals who serve their communities tirelessly and make Indiana a better place to live and work. We obviously can’t highlight everyone, but we would like to salute these 30 organizations that are making a difference.

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 11: Second Helpings

Second Helpings was born from the idea of three very ambitious chefs. These chefs — Kristen Cordoza, Bob Koch, and Jean Paison, identified a problem in the food industry and the community. They witnessed firsthand how much food waste was produced from the food service industry. They also realized that programs in the community could not provide enough food for those in need. Taking it even further, the chefs also knew that finding employees with skills for a commercial kitchen was a difficult task. At the same time, many adults lived in poverty due to the fact that they lacked skills to find a stable career. The three chefs realized that all four problems could be solved with one solution: turning food into meals and jobs.

In 1988, Second Helpings began its first month with 37 volunteers who helped rescue 7,000 pounds of food to prepare 3,074 meals. Since then, tremendous growth has brought those numbers up. Currently, they turn more than 200,000 pounds of rescued food and deliver about 80,000 meals every month.

Second Helpings has a saying about their donors, “They keep our ovens burning, our wheels turning and our students learning.” Second Helpings gains support from individual donors, corporations, and foundations. They also work with many food donors to help combat hunger and poverty in Central Indiana.

In America, 27% of our available food supply is wasted, which is equal to about a pound a day for each individual in the country. Working with food donors, Second Helpings is able to rescue over 2.3 million pounds of food each year! The food that is used to create 4,000 hot, nutritious meals each day. Over 85 partner agencies work with Second Helpings by serving those free meals.

By providing training to disadvantaged adults, the Second Helpings Culinary Job Training program is helping to eliminate hunger at its source. The 7-week program includes uniforms, textbooks, as well as financial literacy training through BMO Harris Bank. Each Second Helpings graduate is also eligible for 5 credit hours from the culinary program at Ivy Tech Community College and ServSafe Certification. More than 700 adults have graduated from this program. Many of the Second Helpings alumni now work in the local community as cooks, executive chefs, business owners and culinary instructors.

Second Helpings is always reaching higher to find ways to build their impact in the community. In 2016, they were able to reach a goal of serving one million meals in one year. Even with this amazing milestone, Second Helpings says their work has yet to be completed.