Community Harvest Food Bank
of Northeast Indiana, Inc.
Jane Avery is recognized as a concerned expert and capable leader in the battle against hunger in northeast Indiana. Under her leadership as Executive Director since 1996, Community Harvest Food Bank has more than tripled its annual budget and distributes more produce throughout its service area than any Indiana member organization of Feeding America. In 2005 Feeding America, formerly named America’s Second Harvest, honored Community Harvest as its "Food Bank of the Year". A first for food banks in Indiana, Community Harvest is also the smallest food bank to ever receive this distinction. Avery credits this and many other honors bestowed upon her and the organization to the support of an involved board of directors and an exemplary staff which is dedicated to the mission of Community Harvest.
Avery played an integral role in the 2005 formation of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH), the state-wide food bank association, and served as its board chair for two years. She has chaired or served on many Feeding America national committees, task forces and work groups including those formed to develop and evaluate national programs, disaster relief response and the 2008 Farm Bill. Most recently Jane was elected chairman of the Feeding America Central Region, the largest region of the Feeding America Food Bank network representing nearly half of all Feeding America’s food banks. That election also placed Avery on the Feeding America National Council.
Recognized as a hunger relief and food banking leader, Jane has served as a strong and credible resource to Senator Richard Lugar, Congressmen Marlin Stutzman and Mark Souder, Governor Mitch Daniels, Fort Wayne Mayors Paul Helmke, Graham Richards and Tom Henry for hunger relief issues and legislation and participated in a Capitol Hill Congressional committee panel discussion focused on the need for Food Stamp Program reform. She has contributed to the work of several area organizations as a board or committee member including Vision 2020, Blue Jacket, Inc., United Way of Allen County, Matthew 25 Health & Dental Clinic, and the University of Saint Francis. Those efforts and more led Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry to honor her with the "Key to the Fort" award in 2011, only the second key ever presented. In 2008 the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette honored her as their "Citizen of the Year" and Governor Mitch Daniels honored her with Indiana’s "Distinguished Hoosier Award" along with being named a finalist for the 2010 Indiana Torchbearer Award.
As the daughter of a grocer, Avery and her three siblings worked either in the store or on her grandfather’s farm in rural Ohio. "It just seems natural for me to be involved with food banking," says Avery. Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from the University of Saint Francis, Avery also earned her Master of Business Administration graduating Magna Cum Laude from Taylor University. Her unwavering loyalty is an inspiration to all those who partner with her to alleviate hunger through the full use of donated food and other resources.