One of the great American tragedies is that so many people still go hungry every day. Even worse is that so much food goes to waste. In Indianapolis, one agency that’s helping to combat both of these issues is Second Helpings, https://www.secondhelpings.org. Second Helpings rescues overstocked and damaged cases of food and food nearing expiration and turns it into 4,000 meals per day. Those meals go to the community’s senior centers, shelters, and children’s programs.

Back in August, one of our colleagues read an article online stating that Second Helpings’ pantry had run critically low on one of their main staples, pasta (they use 100 pounds of pasta per day). This need spawned a company food drive, dubbed the Pasta Bowl. Our Philanthropy group quickly jumped into action, dividing and conquering. Since we know that our colleagues are fiercely ambitious, we used their competitive drive to maximize our donation: a point system was devised for pantry items, giving highly needed items greater points to ensure that we collected more of those food products. Final team points ranged from a few hundred to the winning 3000+ points. We knew that our colleagues would support this fantastic event and show their true generosity, but we decided to sweeten the deal with a half day of vacation for the winners.

It was a slow start, but, true to our nature, many of us work best under a deadline. Some teams were low key and added to their regular grocery shopping by picking up extra items, while others strategized. Some teams pooled their money and designated a shopper. One team turned to online grocery shopping for the best deals to maximize their donation. That team had cases of food; pasta sauce and pasta were delivered to one member’s home and then brought to the office to add to their stockpile. At the end of the day, we as a company had a small mountain of food.

Second Helpings Communications and Marketing Manager Rob Peoni and his pickup crew arrived on October 7. Several hands moved hundreds of pounds of food to our lobby for organization and loading, and two full skids of food donations including pasta sauce, pasta, and spices were added to Second Helpings’ pantry.

Many of our colleagues have continued their support of Second Helpings by participating in a day of service and volunteering at the Second Helpings kitchen. Watch for more details on our volunteering adventures in another post.