Southport High School intern
From just one local organization, more than 4,000 meals are sent out daily to 85 different places like homeless shelters and pantries. The goal is to send out 5,000 meals every day and 1 million annually.
Second Helpings, whose motto is Transforming lives through the power of food, is that organization. It was started in 1998 by three chefs who saw a need to curtail food waste. Second Helpings has a three-part mission: food rescue, hunger relief, culinary job training.
“It’s more than just nourishing our bodies,” said Adriane Rios, manager of volunteer services. “It’s kind of nourishing your soul on a deeper level.”
Southport High School family and consumer sciences teacher Raye Jordan was looking for volunteer work in the fall of 2016 when she ran across Second Helpings, which needed help on Thursday evenings. Her church only offered volunteer programs during the day, and that didn’t fit into Jordan’s time schedule.
It wasn’t long before she was taking her students. “It’s got a little special place in my heart,” Jordan said, “because I know that we’re giving back and helping those who need it.”
Southport is one of many schools that has students who volunteer at Second Helpings; however, Southport is the only school whose students volunteer monthly, according to Rios.
The agency is a volunteer-driven organization in Downtown Indianapolis with 28 staff members and about 750 volunteers. Volunteers rescue food that would be thrown away by restaurants and stores, prepare meals, deliver food, man the front desk, do laundry and even tend to the garden.
Volunteers have the opportunity to go through the whole process of Second Helpings, starting out with rescuing the food and ending with delivering it to places in need. The majority of volunteers spend their time in the kitchen, but if there is a need for a delivery driver or any other position, volunteers are happy to help.
“It’s always really neat when you hear of a volunteer who has rescued the food; they’ve been in the kitchen; they’ve prepared the food; then they’ve also delivered the food,” said Rios, who can be emailed at email@example.com for more information. “I think they get a much richer volunteer experience that way.”
Rios said she enjoys having student volunteers from Southport. Each person who comes in a group on Thursday has the opportunity to bring their friends with them. Rios says there have been students who have come on a Thursday and returned Saturday with their friends for an orientation program.
Jordan is open to bringing anyone who wants to go with her. She enjoys watching students use their cooking skills to help others and give back to the city. Jordan has noticed that student are typically quiet on the way to Second Helpings, but on the way home they have plenty to talk about.
“Usually when the kids leave they’re ready to go back,” said Jordan, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. “It makes you feel really good that you can do something to help others.”