On June 7, 2005, National Hunger Awareness Day, Indiana Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman announced the state’s support of the newly formed state food bank association, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. Created to maximize public-private partnerships that link hunger service providers, food producers, and processors from around the state, the partnerships enable food and funding resources to be more effectively identified and coordinated to better serve Hoosiers in need.
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry received an initial grant for seed money jointly from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Office of Rural Affairs, and the Family and Social Services Administration. The commitment from the State of Indiana to the work done by the food banks not only enabled the initial seed money, but has facilitated greater input from Indiana’s food banks in the administration of state and federal hunger programs in an effort to better coordinate with local providers who feed Hoosiers.
The most recent state commitment to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry came in the form of a state appropriation enabling the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to work with the member food banks through a “farm-to-table” purchase program. Assisted by Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and funded in the state budget, this new program enabled food banks to procure food from Indiana farmers and producers for distribution in the fall of 2011.
Since 2005, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry has grown to eleven member food banks, all affiliated with Feeding America, serving all 92 Indiana counties. Our partnerships have broadened to encompass not just the State of Indiana, but partners in Hoosier agriculture, including the Indiana Pork Producers and the Indiana Soybean Alliance through the “Million Meals” pork purchase and distribution program; Indiana’s Family of Farmers; the Indiana Vegetable Growers’ Association; and other commodity groups. We work with Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources and Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry to facilitate the processing of deer donated by hunters for distribution at the food banks. We work with generous corporate partners in the food industry. We are fortunate to have partners in Indiana’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who sponsors the annual March Against Hunger statewide food drive, and U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, sponsor of the annual Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers statewide food drive. We additionally work with the Indiana Coalition for Human Services and other partners serving similar populations, and we serve as a member of Indiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (INVOAD).