Feeding Indiana's Hungry

Indiana's State Association of Food Banks

Menu Close

Indiana Farms to Food Banks Program Launches

 by Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service (IN)
Play Audio in Browser Window

INDIANAPOLIS – An effort to get more fresh produce on the tables of struggling Hoosiers is coming to fruition.

The Farms to Food Banks program is kicking off this summer. It allows food banks to purchase surplus or number-two grade produce at below market rates from local growers.

Bob White, a retail agriculture business specialist with the Indiana Farm Bureau, says it will solve the grview-47354-1 (1)dilemma many farmers face when they don’t know what to do with extra produce.

“It may be sweet corn in season or it may be greens, whatever the case may be,” White explains. “The local food bank can then purchase that food and distribute it within 24 hours so it doesn’t really go to waste.”

There is a price list for 25 items food banks may purchase, with a set price per unit. Interested farmers may contact a local food bank, or Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.

Some $300,000 per year was made available in the state budget to get the program going.

Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, says some food banks already receive surplus produce from area farmers, but typically it’s in the form of a donation. She says the program is a win-win because farmers will get paid, and food banks will have better quality produce.

“We’re getting product that is going to be fresher than most of the produce we receive,” she points out. “It’s coming from closer, so we know that it’s not been sitting on a truck somewhere for some time, and it’s coming from Indiana farmers, and so we’re able bring that fresh produce to serve the folks that are visiting our food banks and our pantries.”

Food banks in Indiana serve more than 1 million clients a year, clients who will now have better access to healthy, nutritious foods.

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry Mourns the Passing of Founder Jane Avery

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry staff and board of directors are deeply saddened at the passing of Jane Avery,

Jane Avery introducing Feeding Indiana's Hungry  on Hunger Day in 2005.

Jane Avery introducing Feeding Indiana’s Hungry on Hunger Day in 2005.

CEO of Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana in Ft. Wayne. A tireless and passionate advocate for Indiana’s food banks and the Hoosiers they serve, Avery’s efforts more than a decade ago led to the founding of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, the state association of food banks.

Avery joined Community Harvest in July, 1996, where she quickly became known as an innovative leader in the food bank community. In 1999, Avery created the Community Cupboard as an on-site pantry at the food bank. Here she recreated the look and feel of a small town grocery store. Clients were given a grocery cart and permitted to select items favored by that family. The new style pantry was the first of its kind among national food banks and eventually other food banks mimicked what Avery first created in Fort Wayne. In 2005, Community Harvest was recognized as the food bank of the year by Second Harvest (now Feeding America), the nation’s largest hunger relief organization.

Still leading the way in food banking, Avery recently created the first blanch and freeze operation among national food banks. Vegetables readily available in the summer will be preserved and then distributed on a year round basis from a facility to open later this summer.

Always thinking about the big picture, Avery researched a statewide food bank association as part of her studies in her Masters in Business Administration program. Shortly after completing the research project, her work attracted the attention of then gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels. Shortly after Governor Daniels took office, Avery worked with then Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and other Indiana food bank directors to create Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. Avery since has served on the board of directors of the organization, often in leadership capacities, in addition to her responsibilities at Community Harvest Food Bank. Through her leadership, energy, and persistence, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry steadily grew and evolved from a graduate school project to a trusted resource for policymakers and partner for agriculture and anti-hunger groups in the state.

“Jane Avery was a true crusader against hunger. It was impossible to talk to her without learning something about food banking, hunger, charity, or life, always leaving the conversation with a renewed sense of commitment to alleviating hunger. Her tenacity, dedication, and humor will be missed by anyone who has crossed her path. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jane’s family and her extended family at Community Harvest,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.

Indiana State Bar Association announces winners of March Against Hunger competition

MAH star logoThe Indiana State Bar Association Service Committee, in coordination with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH), today announced the winners for this year’s March Against Hunger food drive competition. The following winners from each of the six divisions will receive the “Attorney General’s Cup” trophy at a local recognition event later this month:

  • Sole Proprietor – Steven Douglas Law Office, Ellettsville
    ($1,170 monetary donations)
  • Small Firm (2-11 persons) – Wilson Kehoe Winingham, Indianapolis
    ($1,180 monetary donations; 191 pounds of food)
  • Medium Firm (12-21 persons) – Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson & Drummy, Terre Haute
    ($2,445 monetary donations)
  • Large Firm (22-49 persons) – Burke Costanza & Carberry, Merrillville
    ($4,302.70 monetary donations; 257 pounds of food)
  • X-Large Firm (50+ persons) – Barnes & Thornburg, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend & Elkhart offices
    ($13,670 monetary donations; 417 pounds of food)
  • Public/Non-Profit/Local Bar – Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office, Evansville
    ($3,000 monetary donations; 1,690 pounds of food)

“The lawyers in Indiana have always championed the March Against Hunger food drive competition and this year was no exception, raising more monetary donations and non-perishable food items than in previous years,” ISBA President Jeff R. Hawkins said. “I know that helping others is an emotionally rewarding experience and I’m proud of my profession’s participation.”

This year’s March Against Hunger food drive competition took place March 1-31 and included 39 participants statewide, generating 10,105 pounds of food and $50,228.20 in monetary donations. Since 2009, the food drive has generated a total of 62,459 pounds of food and $282,027.91 in monetary donations for Indiana food banks. Click here for a list of all 2015 participants.

“March Against Hunger is a great tradition that inspires a culture of serving and of giving back that helps put food on the table for many struggling families in our state,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said. “Thank you to the Indiana State Bar Association and law firms – big and small – that made this effort a priority and have helped grow this program year after year. Your generosity makes our Hoosier communities stronger.”

“We are grateful for the participation and generosity of so many attorneys, as well as for the leadership of Attorney General Zoeller and the Indiana State Bar Association to raise awareness of hunger,” FIsH Executive Director Emily Weikert Bryant said. “Our food banks are serving one in six Hoosiers who are at risk of hunger; that’s more than one million people. The food and funds contributed though the March Against Hunger drive this year will provide much-needed assistance to those in our communities who continue to struggle with hunger.”

First Lady’s Charity Awards Gift to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry


This year, $65,000 will go to Feed Indiana’s Hungry; smaller grants will help other groups
By: Maureen C. Gilmer, IndyStar

Not long after her husband became governor of Indiana in 2013, Karen Pence quietly set about establishing a charity that would touch all 92 counties.

Part of the reason was because, as first lady, she was inundated with requests from groups seeking her support.

“I found that I just was saying no to all these fabulous causes,” Pence said during an interview last week at the governor’s residence.

She couldn’t take them all on, but she could find a way to help as many as possible.

The Indiana First Lady’s Charitable Foundation awarded $165,000 in grants to groups and individuals in 68 counties last year. All are working to help children and families in Indiana. The biggest chunk — $100,000 — went to Riley Hospital for Children’s Art Therapy initiative.

Eighty-three smaller grants of $500 or $1,000 were awarded, and representatives were invited to awards ceremonies at the governor’s residence throughout the year.

“It’s pretty amazing that there are so many organizations in Indiana that just come alongside (people) and do what they can. It’s always very uplifting,” Pence said.

The money is raised through the annual First Lady’s Luncheon, which attracted 600-plus people last week to the JW Marriott. Josh Kaufman, winner of “The Voice” last year, entertained, and women in the crowd received specially designed handbags made by The Farmer’s Wife.

Each bag was stuffed with a First Lady’s Cookbook, an Indiana-shaped cutting board, seed packets and note cards with an image of a watercolor painted by Pence herself. Some also received bottles of honey harvested from a beehive at the governor’s residence.

This year, the foundation awarded a grant of $65,000 to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, which dovetails with the luncheon theme of Hoosier Home Grown, focusing on the state’s rich food heritage. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry supports 11 food banks in the state, which support food pantries in all counties.

Among those attending the luncheon were former first lady Judy O’Bannon, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, state treasurer Kelly Mitchell, state auditor Suzanne Crouch and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz.

Pence got the idea for a first lady’s lunch from a friend who was active in planning a similar event in Washington, D.C., but Indiana’s first lady wanted to take the money raised and give it to organizations and individuals doing good work around the state.

“I can’t be your spokesperson or head your gala, but apply for a grant and we will at least do something to support your organization. That’s how it all started,” she said.

She remembers one little boy who attended a recent awards ceremony, during which groups helping children with cancer were recognized.

“This little guy here was about 8. He brought his jar … of beads and he said, ‘Every time I got a treatment, I got a bead for my jar.’ His jar was full. That was heartbreaking,” she said.

She hands out her card promoting the grants to everyone she can because she wants to make sure every county is touched by the foundation.

“We started the foundation to shine a light on the people and organizations that are working every day to benefit our children and Hoosier families,” she said. “We want to hit all 92 counties. We don’t hold on to money; we give it all away.”

Survey Finds 17 Percent of Households in Indiana Struggle to Afford Food

Data Underscores Need to Protect and Improve Partnerships for Nutrition Assistance

Nearly one in six Hoosier households – 17 percent of respondent142618.Klein.Augusta-7375s – reported in 2014 they struggled to afford enough food for their households, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

How Hungry is America? provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for  the nation, every state, and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The report found that nationally the food hardship rate was 17.2 percent in 2014.

The report’s Food Hardship Index reveals:

  • Indiana ranked 21 out of 50 states, with 17.0 percent in the state in 2014 reporting they were unable to afford enough food. In the previous report of 2012 data, Indiana was ranked 18th with a food hardship rate of 20.4.
  • Louisville‐Jefferson County, KY‐IN ranked 15 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 21.4 percent for 2013-2014.
  • Cincinnati‐Middletown, OH‐KY‐IN ranked 35 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 19.6 percent for 2013-2014.
  • Indianapolis‐Carmel, IN ranked 52 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 18.6 percent for 2013-2014.
  • Chicago‐Naperville‐Joliet, IL‐IN‐WI ranked 74 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 16.5 percent for 2013-2014.

“It is unacceptable that so many across Indiana cannot afford enough food to provide for their families,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “These statistics are more than just numbers. They are Hoosier households with children, seniors, veterans, working adults and people with disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet.  We urge our elected leaders to do right by their constituents. It’s vital that they protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs, and support the state produce distribution program through Indiana’s food banks.  With political will, we can end hunger in Indiana now.”

The United States Senate and House recently passed budgets that would subject the federal nutrition programs to staggering cuts. Such cuts would cause irreparable harm to the health and well-being of millions of people across the country who struggle to put food on the table. They also ignore the fact that no community or state is free from hunger, as multiple studies and research continue to demonstrate.

In Indiana, legislative leaders continue discussion and negotiations on a state budget that includes support for Hoosier produce purchase and distribution through Indiana’s network of food banks, but at a funding level that has not been raised in six years even as the number of struggling Hoosiers continues to grow.

“Food hardship is a problem in every corner of Indiana. People are still struggling,” said Bryant, noting that too many Hoosiers bear the brunt of insufficient wages, unemployment or involuntary part-time employment, and struggle to get by. “Our elected leaders must work with the charitable and private sectors in earnest to make a significant impact on alleviating hunger and improving healthy outcomes for all Hoosiers.”

How Hungry is America? contains data throughout 2014 for every state and 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas (MSA). The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” A “yes” answer to this question is considered to signal that the household experienced food hardship.

The full report is available at www.frac.org

7th Annual March Against Hunger Underway with the Indiana State Bar Association

The Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) has teamed up with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General 10982488_10153029650600630_5751922984540651436_nand Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) for its seventh consecutive year to sponsor March Against Hunger, a friendly food drive competition to raise both non-perishable food and monetary donations for Indiana’s 11 regional food banks March 1-31.


The competition is an opportunity for attorneys statewide to help put food on the tables of those struggling in our state. Since 2009, the March Against Hunger food drive has generated 52,354 pounds of food and $231,799.00 in monetary donations for Indiana food banks.


Firms can sign up any time during the collection period. Click here to register. For questions, contact Catheryne Pully at cpully@inbar.org or 800.266.2581. 

A special thanks to our 2015 participants:

Sole Proprietor

  1. The Law Office of Bryan K. Bullock
  2. Steven Douglas Law Office, PC
  3. Adedoyin Gomih Law, LLC

Small Firm (2-11 persons)

  1. Wilson Kehoe Winingham
  2. Roberge Law
  3. Hensley Legal Group, PC
  4. Delk McNally, LLP
  5. Jones Obenchain, LLP
  6. Lewis and Wilkins, LLP
  7. Richard A. Mann, PC
  8. Robert John & Associates, PC
  9. Wagner Reese, LLP
  10. O’Neill McFadden & Willett

Medium Firm (12-21 persons)

  1. Tuesley Hall Konopa, LLP
  2. Hoover Hull Turner LLP
  3. Haller & Colvin, PC
  4. Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson & Drummy
  5. Burt Blee Dixon Sutton & Bloom, LLP
  6. Tilford Dobbins & Schmidt, PLLC
  7. Eichhorn & Eichhorn, LLP

Large Firm (22-49 persons)

  1. Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff
  2. Faegre Baker Daniels (South Bend)
  3. Lewis Kappes PC
  4. Kopka Pinkus Dolin PC
  5. Church Church Hittle & Antrim (Fishers)
  6. Church Church Hittle & Antrim (Merrillville)
  7. Church Church Hittle & Antrim (Tipton)
  8. Kightlinger & Gray, LLP (Indianapolis)
  9. Kightlinger & Gray, LLP (Evansville)
  10. Kightlinger & Gray, LLP (Merrillville)
  11. Kightlinger & Gray, LLP (New Albany)
  12. Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP

X-Large Firm (50+ persons)

  1. Lewis Wagner, LLP
  2. Faegre Baker Daniels (Indianapolis)
  3. Faegre Baker Daniels (Fort Wayne)
  4. Barnes & Thornburg LLP (South Bend)
  5. Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Fort Wayne)
  6. Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Elkhart)
  7. Ice Miller LLP

Public/Non-Profit/Local Bar

  1. Indiana State Bar Association
  2. Office of the Indiana Attorney General
  3. Indiana State Senate
  4. Marion County Prosecutor’s Office
  5. Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office
  6. Indianapolis Legal Aid Society, Inc.
  7. Allen County Bar Association
  8. Lake County Bar Association
  9. Hendricks County Bar Association
  10. Northeast Indiana Paralegal Association, Inc.
  11. Women Lawyers Association

Indiana State Bar Association sponsors 7th Annual March Against Hunger competition

MAH star logoThe Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) is teaming up with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) for its seventh consecutive year to sponsor March Against Hunger, a friendly food drive competition to raise both non-perishable food and monetary donations for Indiana’s 11 regional food banks March 1-31.

The competition is an opportunity for attorneys statewide to help put food on the tables of those struggling in our state. Since 2009, the March Against Hunger food drive has generated 52,354 pounds of food and $231,799.00 in monetary donations for Indiana food banks.

The winner in each of the following categories will be presented with the coveted “Attorney General’s Cup” trophy:

  • Solo Proprietor (1 lawyer)
  • Small Firm (2-11 lawyers)
  • Medium Firm (12-21 lawyers)
  • Large Firm (22-49 lawyers)
  • X-Large Firm (50+ lawyers)
  • Public/Non-Profit/Local Bar

Sign up to participate by clicking “Register“. Firms can sign up any time before the competition begins or during the collection period.

For questions, contact Catheryne Pully at cpully@inbar.org or 800.266.2581.

Donations & Food Banks:

Your donations will be weighed at the regional food bank serving your county, which you will select during the registration process. Note: Every dollar raised by your firm/organization will count as 5 lbs. and will be added to your total. Please refer to the list below for information specific to your food bank (to include address, contact person and who to make checks payable to). You will be responsible for scheduling a time to drop off your donations (some food banks do pick up).

Indiana Works to Reach More Kids Who Need School Breakfast

PHOTO: According to the Food Research and Action Center, 213,000 Indiana children ate a free school breakfast last year, less than half of those who participated in the federal School Lunch Program. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

PHOTO: According to the Food Research and Action Center, 213,000 Indiana children ate a free school breakfast last year, less than half of those who participated in the federal School Lunch Program. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana schools have been working to ensure that all children, especially those who are low-income, start their day with a healthy breakfast. But a new report shows there is room for improvement.

The Food Research and Action Center found that less than half of the students who participated in federally funded school lunch programs also took part in the School Breakfast program. Lindsey Hill, president of the Indiana School Nutrition Association, said schools are trying to boost those numbers by offering breakfast outside of the cafeteria setting.

“Breakfast is actually delivered to the classroom in the mornings, and it’s a part of their day,” she said. “Other schools have done grab-and-go breakfasts where the breakfast is available as students get off the bus and they walk into the school building. It just makes it easier and faster than maybe having to walk down to the cafeteria.”

Indiana is sharing in a recent $5 million grant to rework how school breakfast is delivered, and Hill said school administrators and food-service directors around the state are collaborating to develop new strategies to reach more kids. Indiana ranks 34th nationally for participation in free school breakfast programs.

National implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision, allowing eligible low-income students to feed all students free of charge, began this year. The Indianapolis Public School District is among those offering it, and Hill said it is a good way to start the school day.

“The stigma of breakfast being only something that needy kids get is gone,” she said. “Breakfast in schools is actually something the children want to do because it’s fun and they get to socialize with their friends as well.”

According to the report, school breakfast programs have been linked to improved nutrition, fewer disciplinary problems and fewer missed days of school. Hill said the programs also help students learn better because they are not distracted by an empty stomach.

The School Breakfast Scorecard is online at frac.org.

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry Announces 2015 Legislative Priorities

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is committed to enhancing the quality of life for our clients through access to safe, nutritious food and other vital necessities. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry supports legislation and administrative policies which recognize the needs of the more than 1.1 million Hoosiers our food banks serve and increase the accessibility of nutritious food options to promote health, educational attainment, and workforce success for those in need.

State Advocacy

  • Continued support for Indiana producers and Indiana food banks.  $1.2 million for Indiana’s food banks to purchase surplus or #2 produce from Hoosier farmers through a Farms to Food Banks program.
  • Continued support for the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund. State funding for the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund covers the cost of processing of donated deer from Hoosier hunters. This venison is donated to Indiana’s food banks and pantries.Indiana_Indianapolis_statehouse_c-3022012-2-1062 (1)
  • Removing barriers to public assistance enrollment and administration to ensure that programs that assist food bank clients are provided to those eligible for the assistance in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.
  • Ensuring adequate funding for health and human services and providing sufficient resources to protect Indiana’s vulnerable populations.

Federal Advocacy

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry supports federal advocacy priorities that focus on Child Nutrition Reauthorization, with the following policy recommendations consistent with those of Feeding America:

US Capitol

  • Strengthen States’ Ability to Reach Kids During the Summer. Align the area eligibility requirement for summer feeding and educational programs to allow more learning programs to offer meals in the summer. Allow communities to adopt alternate program models in areas where children lack access to a program site to reach more kids, such as waiving the requirement that kids consume meals on site, allowing communities to send meals home with children, or giving families a grocery card to supplement their household food budget.
  • Streamline Regulations for Community Based Providers. Allow nonprofits to operate one child nutrition program year round by eliminating duplicative administrative processes and aligning inconsistent program requirements of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) after school and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) during the summer.
  • Allow Flexibility to Better Reach Kids During Weekends. Waive the arbitrary on-site requirement to allow communities to innovate more effective ways to serve kids, such as sending needy children home from school with a backpack of nutritious meals or groceries on Friday afternoons.
  • Leverage Schools Beyond the School Day. Encourage schools to make their facilities available to local nonprofits as a shared community resource would allow communities to nourish more children when school is out. By opening up kitchens, libraries, or playgrounds to community nonprofits, many schools are important partners in feeding children after school, during the summer, and on weekends.
  • Strengthen Access and Quality in School Meal Programs and WIC. Continue to support schools as they strive to improve the nutritional quality of meals, providing support, equipment, and training to meet the guidelines set in the last child nutrition bill. Fewer than half of eligible children ages one to four participate in WIC, and we must ensure families’ access to the important nutrition and health benefits that WIC provides.

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry to be Focus of First Lady’s Charitable Efforts in 2015

First Lady Karen Pence announced Feeding Indiana’s Hungry as this year’s Indiana First Lady’s Charitable Foundation major grant recipient to be awarded at the First Lady’s Luncheon on April 23, 2015.10389980_10152784651970630_4110541934911165425_n

“With the holidays right around the corner, now is as critical time as ever to support organizations like Feeding Indiana’s Hungry,” said First Lady Karen Pence. “I’m thrilled to be working with this important Hoosier charity, and I’m so thankful for their work in the lives of Hoosiers across the state.”

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is a Partner Statewide Association of Feeding America, and its 11 Feeding America-affiliated member food banks serve Hoosiers across the entire state. For more information about Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, visit http://feedingindianashungry.org/.

“The First Lady has been a supporter of hunger relief efforts in Indiana for quite some time,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “We are grateful that she selected our organization as a beneficiary of her Foundation and look forward to her partnership to help our network serve more than 1.1 million Hoosiers who turn to us because they face the unthinkable circumstance of not knowing where their next meal will come.”

Each year, the Foundation selects a different charity to highlight. Throughout the year there are opportunities for organizations to request a grant or monetary award on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation is a 501 ( c )(3). The First Lady receives no compensation. Donations will be tax deductible.

Last year, the First Lady chose Riley Children’s Hospital’s Art Therapy Initiative as the Foundation’s inaugural grant recipient.