Hunger relief group responds to growing need with milestone

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Second Helpings, a group that “rescues” unused food and prepares meals for those in need, has hit a new milestone in its response to central Indiana’s growing hunger problem.

The non-profit organization, which was created in 1998, served its seven millionth meal in its history this summer.

“We rescue food that might otherwise go to waste,” said Betsy Whitmore of Second Helpings.  “We know that it’s having an impact on the community.”

Rescued food normally comes from supermarkets, caterers, restaurants or farmers, Whitmore said.

Second Helpings serves 3,500 meals every day to about 70 social service organizations in central Indiana.

The group plans to increase its meal production by 15 percent in the coming year, with a recent study finding one in five central Indiana children struggles with hunger.

“There are more agencies who have contacted us who would like to have meal service and some of our agencies are saying we need more meals because we have more people, so we know that there is a growing need,” Whitmore said.

The Julian Center, which helps support victims of domestic violence, used to receive a hot meal for the people it serves twice each week.

Recently, increased demand prompted the center to start receiving meals five days per week.

“When you’re a victim of domestic violence, your life is unsettled,” said The Julian Center’s Melinda Mains.  “Something as simple as having a hot meal that’s available for you is just a very simple way we can have a little comfort.”