The Indy Hunger Network began as the recession hit in 2009. The CEO of Second Helpings contacted the Mayor’s office, and they called together area hunger leaders who began to meet regularly and learn about the food assistance system. Their initial objective was to meet the needs of our hungry neighbors through collaboration of the organizations in our community that serve the hungry.
A summary of the flow of food to the hungry through the hundreds of independent local organizations providing food assistance in Indianapolis was prepared, and it clearly showed that there were a large number of opportunities to improve this complex web of a hunger relief system.
By the end of 2010, potential projects were prioritized, project charters were developed, and an initial set of projects were underway. By 2011, with a clearer picture in hand of the many sources and quantities of food assistance, the importance of maximizing all sources of food became central to IHN’s work.
The organization launched publicly in 2012 with a major grant from the Lilly Corporate Foundation, the hiring of a staff member and first VISTA volunteers, a loaned executive from Elanco, a media campaign, community leaders breakfast, and incorporation as a 501(c)(3).
Initiatives such as a first-of-its-kind survey of unmet need for food assistance, a strategic review, a briefing to the Congressional Hunger Commission, and the implementation of an Advocacy Committee have occurred in the ensuing years. CEOs of our nonprofit partners have remained actively engaged, sponsors Jim Morris and Jeff Simmons have continued their support, cooperation among the partners has grown, community volunteers have deployed their technical skills, and more than a dozen projects have been completed.