Helping hands

Advanced nutrition students volunteer at local community kitchen

Tabby Fitzgerald, Reporter

From just one local organization, over 4,000 meals get sent out every day to 85 different places such as homeless shelters and food pantries. The organization’s goal is to have at least 1 million meals go out every year and to be able to have 5,000 meals go out every day.

Second Helpings is that organization. It was started in 1998 by three chefs who saw that there was a need for something to be done about food waste. Second Helpings has a three part mission: food rescue, hunger relief, culinary job training.

“It’s more than just nourishing our bodies,” said manager of volunteer services Adriane Rios.  “It’s kind of nourishing your soul on a deeper level.”

FACS teacher Raye Jordan originally wanted to do volunteer work, but her church only offered volunteering during day time hours, which didn’t work for her. So, Jordan continued to search for a place to volunteer at and came across Second Helpings who offered volunteering on Thursday nights, which fit perfect with her schedule.

SHS is one of many schools that has students who volunteer at Second Helpings. However, Southport is the only school whose students volunteer monthly, according to Rios. Jordan started volunteering at Second Helpings in the fall of 2016. Jordan will take any students, not just the ones that she has in class, if they want to go.

“It’s got a little special place in my heart,” Jordan said. “Cause I know that we’re giving back (and) helping those who need it.”

Second Helpings is a volunteer-driven organization located in downtown Indianapolis with 28 staff members and about 750 volunteers. Volunteers do tasks such as rescuing food that would be thrown away by restaurants and stores, preparing meals, delivering food, running  the front desk, doing laundry and even tending to the garden.

Volunteers do have the opportunity to go through the whole process of Second Helpings starting out with rescuing the food and ending with delivering it to different places in need. The majority of volunteers spend their time in the kitchen, but if there was a need for a delivery driver or any other position that day, Rios says that any of them would be happy to help.

“It’s always really neat when you hear of a volunteer who has rescued the food, they’ve been in the kitchen, they’ve prepared the food, then they’ve also delivered the food,” Rios said. “I think they get a much richer volunteer experience that way.”

Rios enjoys having students volunteer from SHS. Each person that comes in a group on Thursday comes as an individual and has the potential to bring their friends and family with them. Rios says that there have been students that have come in the past on a Thursday who will then come to Saturday orientation and bring their friends and family with them to help volunteer.

Jordan is open to bringing anyone who wants to go with her including friends of friends and other students. She enjoys watching students use their cooking skills to help others and give back to the city. On the way to Second Helpings, students won’t really talk to each other but on the ride back, Jordan has noticed that students will be very talkative and never run out of things to talk about.

“Usually when the kids leave,they’re ready to go back,” Jordan said. “It makes you feel really good that you can do something to help others.”

*To get in contact with Jordan, you can email her at [email protected] or you can contact Rios at [email protected]