The mission of Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Inc. is to alleviate hunger through the full use of donated food and other resources and to increase public awareness of and involvement in our mission.
Community Harvest Food Bank seeks to be a dynamic, responsive and charitable leader in the effort to alleviate hunger and its causes in our service area.
Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Inc. was incorporated in 1983 as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization by a group of business, religious, and government leaders in the wake of major factory shutdowns. Throughout our nearly 30 year history, we have distributed over 186 million pounds of food and grocery products throughout Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells, and Whitley counties.
Community Harvest Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in northeast Indiana, annually distributing nearly 13 million pounds of food.
Community Harvest Food Bank collects wholesome surplus food and grocery products donated by the food industry – products that might otherwise go to a landfill – and utilizes it for hunger relief.
In an average week, we distribute over 200,000 pounds of food throughout our nine county service area – enough to feed 21,100 people with six meals.
Community Harvest Food Bank maintains a supply of food to be ready to respond with emergency food assistance in the event of a natural or other disaster.
Community Harvest Food Bank is the only area member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization.
Our food helps churches and human service agencies in our member agency network, serving up to 90,000 unduplicated clients annually throughout our nine county service area. These agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, and youth and senior citizen programs.
In addition to our agency distribution, we operate seven direct service programs grouped into 3 key initiatives:
Child Hunger Initiative: includes Kids Cafe® (after school feeding program at established youth organizations and churches located in low-income areas), the Summer Feeding program and the BackPack program (take-home food for children on weekends and holidays).
Feeding Seniors Initiative: includes SeniorPak (bi-weekly grocery delivery for homebound, limited income seniors).
Healthy Families Initiative: includes Farm Wagon (a mobile fresh produce and perishables pantry serving low-income neighborhoods), Community Cupboard (our on-site pantry which provides direct food assistance to clients referred by other not-for-profits, originated at Community Harvest and replicated throughout the country), Holiday Meals (turkeys & trimmings for those who would otherwise do without) and Crisis Assistance (offering emergency food assistance).
Community Harvest Food Bank is non-governmental, non-sectarian and is not a United Way member agency. Funding comes from various sources: individuals, corporations, organizations, grants, government funding, member agency contributions, special fundraising events, and bequests.
Volunteers of all ages help with the labor intensive work of food banking, saving Community Harvest thousands of dollars in labor costs each year.
This year as Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Inc. commemorates its 30th anniversary we can't help but be grateful for all of the support over the years starting at the very beginning. In 1983 International Harvester, a large manufacturer in Fort Wayne, shut down operations. The closing affected over 50,000 people in northeast Indiana. At the time there was no food bank and only a few very small food pantries that were mostly church-based. There was certainly nothing that could address the need of that many people. Nationally, food banking was a very new concept, but community leaders knew something had to be done quickly to address the issues facing those 50,000 people and came up with the idea for a make-shift food bank. Volunteers collected donated food and distributed it off the back of pick-up trucks. The leaders created the perfect solution to what they assumed would be a temporary crisis. However, they soon learned that hunger will always be an on-going problem, even here in this rich agricultural community.
That's the reality of hunger. Something like an injury, an expensive car repair, divorce, unemployment or underemployment and many more potentially life-changing situations can have a negative and lasting impact on anyone, no matter their socioeconomic status. Most of the individuals we serve, just like those back in 1983, need help for a short period of time. We help bridge the gap until they can get through whatever rough patch they're experiencing.
For three decades, we have been privileged to be a leader in hunger relief both in northeast Indiana and across the United States. So we are dedicating 2013, our Pearl Anniversary, to those we have been able to help, and those individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations who have partnered with us to make it possible.