Second Helpings is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The nonprofit organization rescues food from wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants and uses it to create meals they distribute to 85 social service agencies in Central Indiana.
“Three local chefs began Second Helpings 20 years ago. Their first day, they served 66 meals. Now, we are sending out over 4,000 meals a day,” said Amber Jett, Corporate and Donor Relations Manager.
And they couldn’t do it without their army of volunteers, 600 to 700 strong.
“We have a volunteer shift every morning and every afternoon. And then Thursday evening and Saturday morning,” she said. “You never know who you’ll be working with. Maybe you’ll be working with community service members, maybe you’ll be working with retired doctors or lawyers, maybe you’ll be working with Colts players. It’s a great place to come, everybody kind of checks their resume at the door and works for the common good.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Colts players Nate Hairston, Krishawn Hogan, and Kenny Moore II showed up, suited up in aprons and hairnets, and got to work chopping up food in the kitchen.
For Hogan, who grew up in Indianapolis and played football for Warren Central High School and Marian University, it was an opportunity to support the community that’s always been there to support him.
“It has a different meaning for me,” he said. “I hope people that have been following me can see that I’m trying to stay active in the community and really give back.”
Hairston and Moore just got back in town after taking some time away this offseason. Now, they’re ready to get back at it – on the field and in the community.
“Just to get back into the groove of things, meet the coaches, and get my body back going,” said Moore. “I’m here to play football, yes. But I’m here to make more of a difference than just playing football.”
“I go in in the morning, I get my lifts in, my treatment in, take care of my body and my afternoons are pretty much free,” said Hairston. “To take the time when I’ve got some free time to get back in the community is always something I want to do.”
And it’s something the organization always appreciates.
“The Colts have always been fantastic supporters, whether it’s financial or bringing the guys in to volunteer,” said Jett. “We just love having them a part of our community and they’re always so generous with their time.”
It’s all part of the culture. Or, as the the Colts call it - the Colture.
Colts players toured the Second Helpings charity and worked with volunteers to cook and prepare meals that will be distributed to hunger relief organizations throughout Indianapolis.
“Maybe they’re not from Indy, but that’s that Hoosier hospitality rubbing off,” Jett said. “We had a Colts player last year (Christine Michael) come in on his birthday – he called on his birthday and wanted to come do some service, brought his brother in and they went to work in the kitchen for a few hours.”
Kathy Jones has spent most of her life in the kitchen. A former executive chef, she’s been volunteering at Second Helpings since 2002 and took the job of Director of Hunger Relief in August.
“All my chef buddies and friends were like, ‘You’re not going to have any creativity.’ I came here and in two weeks, I was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t even know what I’m going to have to cook with this morning and I don’t know what staff I’m going to have. It’s a different staff every day.’”
For her, it’s about the mission.
“I always say, we’re putting love in this food. So when they eat it, they can feel that. And I think that’s an important thing. And it makes you feel good.”
For the Colts players, football is a labor of love – and so is serving the community.
The start of the season may be months away, but they’re ready to get back and give back as of yesterday.