The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Columns

November 17, 2012

Tim Kean: Crunch time around the holidays worth the extra effort

This time of year is loaded with food drives and fundraisers to make a difference. The holidays tend to bring out generosity for many as we consider our blessings. People on the East Coast just keep getting slammed, with many still in the dark — cold and hungry if they still have a home.

If we have a warm home and choices of food today — but really don’t like the inconvenience of colder temperatures — we just need to always remember that things could be worse and are for tens of thousands of people right here in East Central Indiana.

I can’t believe January will be here in just a few weeks. Yes, that’s right I said January 2013.

Here at Second Harvest Food Bank we are down to crunch time to wrap up 2012 and it has been a doozy. We have seen the need in our eight-county service area rise above 2011 and the years prior. The stubbornness of economic recovery continues to take its toll on thousands living in poverty or those who are at the precarious point of just above self-sufficiency. As life happens to all of us, its impact is magnified when “living on the edge” is normal. Many are staggered by finding themselves in a needy situation for the first time in their life, something that could not be imagined just a few years ago.

Second Harvest Food Bank is stretching to reach new levels of food distribution with a consistent base of financial and food donors along with thousands of volunteers who have become long time partners with us. We are closing in on distributing 12 million pounds of food, which is equivalent to approximately 9.2 million meals or roughly 375 semi-loads for 2012. Not only is there more food going out, but over 50 percent is fresh, nutritious and delicious produce. So much so that we are exploring new avenues of distribution in addition to our current programs.

We have our first pre-audit meeting later this month with a new inspection program from AIB, American Institute of Baking, a nationally recognized food industry standard. We have been busy forecasting a budget for next year along with preparing for a biannual audit of our entire business by our national affiliate, Feeding America.

The audit will take place over a couple of days in the middle of December. Yes, it is very busy, but we believe and do our best to practice being audit ready every week, so bring it on. You, the general public, as owners of this business have the right to expect us to manage our business in an effective, efficient and professional manner and we are constantly looking at ways to raise our impact in all three areas.

As I walk through our office space with people on their phones, typing on computers and enter our warehouse with fork trucks moving pallets of food both on and off of semi-trailers along with volunteers bagging, sorting and cleaning, I am reminded that we are going to make difference in the lives of thousands of people today so it makes the challenges of crunch time all worth it.

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.

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