The Herald Bulletin

March 15, 2014

Tim Kean: The wagons are being loaded quickly


The Herald Bulletin

---- — We have so much going on I don’t know where to begin. We just announced a new Senior Citizens Volunteer Club here at the food bank to begin meeting on the first Wednesday of every month in 2014 starting April 2. This will be a great way for seniors to meet new people, work in volunteer groups, laugh, talk and make a difference for food insecure families.

Weather permitting, we have out Tailgate Distribution schedule back on track to get tens of thousands of pounds of food in the hands of struggling people. The cancellations recently experienced had to be particularly difficult for people who are searching for help without many options. We planning to expand our Community Access Partners program with a distribution of fresh produce beginning in Pendleton at Wellspring Church on March 24 through our Madison County Community Health Center volunteer base.

The first round of County Conversations in 2014 will begin on March 17 in Wabash. These gatherings are for all our agency partners in each county. They are designed to provide an opportunity for conversation with me about any and all topics. I have really enjoyed these meetings. We learn from and share with agencies what is working well, what needs improvement and maybe what we both need to stop doing. I appreciate their candor. Together we have made several changes to improve our processes and strengthen communication. Each time I am involved in this process, I have a renewed appreciation for the work done at the agency level. Many of their stories remind me of my time as an agency leader.

The first quarter will be over in just a few days, which is hard to believe, but true. We are pushing out all we can before the end of March to try and recover some lost momentum in the early year. We must begin finalizing our efforts for the Summer Food Program, a program designed to provide kids a meal over the summer who may have relied on a free or reduced lunch at school. Many counties have done an outstanding job of stepping up and have plans in place of their own through the schools, churches or other organizations without our involvement. It is a reimbursement program funded by the federal government administered through the state. Former Sen. Richard Lugar has championed this program for decades; we owe him a debt of thanks.

We are also in the early stages of development of a planned giving program. We hope to have it ready to roll by July. Many organizations have a planned giving component. It has been floated around in discussion here for years. With the addition of Karen McTague, our director of development and fundraising, we now have the necessary background on staff to bring this to reality. Look for more information soon on ways you can make assisting struggling families part of your legacy.

Tim Kean is executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana. His column appears the third Sunday of each month. He can be reached at tkean@curehunger.org.