Help wanted for hunger relief


This weekend’s seventh annual Tonic Ball will once again raise funds and awareness for hunger relief in Indianapolis, just as Mayor Greg Ballard has issued a plea for area businesses and individuals to respond to the urgent need for food donations at local food banks.

As the economy continues to weaken and families find it more and more difficult to make ends meet, a growing number of Hoosiers are going hungry.  

According to the Polis Center, 10 percent of American households — about 30 million people — reportedly live with hunger or the risk of hunger regularly. About 4 percent actually go hungry; the other 6 percent resort to seeking emergency assistance or to eating food of little nutritional value. Indiana’s statistics are close to the national averages: About 3 percent of households experience hunger, and about 8 percent are at risk of it.

Like all cities, Indianapolis consistently has individuals and families in need of food assistance. With the looming recession and its increased negative effects, this year officials expect to see a sharp rise in the number of families in need.

“This year, it’s different. Our city, like the rest of the nation, is facing the challenges of an economic downturn,” Ballard said. “Our community food banks are beginning to see a drop in food donations at the point when many of our neighbors are most in need.

“That’s why I’m calling on every business, every school, every church, every charitable organization, every agency of government and every individual citizen in Indianapolis to pack the pantries at our local food banks,” the mayor said.

Tonic Ball does its part

Tonic Ball in Fountain Square promises to deliver one of the city’s greatest nights of music this weekend. More importantly, it also promises to continue its tradition of raising money for one of the city’s largest food charities, Second Helpings.

Tonic Ball began as a grassroots fundraising event in 2002, when a small group of do-gooders decided they wanted to put on a show to raise money for a good cause.

Since then, thousands of fans have experienced a series of superb shows featuring memorable performances by some of the area’s top rock, pop, country, folk, jazz and blues artists. Most important, Tonic Ball has raised over $100,000 to support Second Helpings (see this week’s Music section for more on this year’s Tonic Ball lineup of bands).

Since 1998, Second Helpings has helped feed the hungry in our city through the donations of perishable and overstocked food items from distributors, grocery stores, caterers and restaurants. As a result, 10 million pounds of waste has been averted from Indianapolis landfills and thousands of people in greater Indianapolis each day are fed.

Joe Hoog, director of food rescue, says the biggest challenge is getting companies to donate food. “Most are worried about their liability and are not aware or comfortable with the protection that the government provides. Also, I don’t think they realize how much good they can do by participating in a program like ours.”

Second Helpings prepares and delivers 2,900 meals each day to 50 social service agencies in the city, saving the community millions of dollars each year. Karen Bohr, kitchen manager for Dayspring Center, an emergency shelter for homeless families with children, says, “We could not afford to feed our families without the food from Second Helpings.”

To donate your time or resources, call Second Helpings at 317-632-2664 or visit their Web site at

For more on Tonic Ball, go to

For more information on how you can help at local food banks (including a full list of drop-off locations and a “how-to” kit), call the Mayor’s Action Center at 317-327-4MAC or go to

Most wanted

Think nutrition, shelf-life and safety when donating to local food banks. Avoid glass containers, homemade items, junk foods and opened items. In most cases, these are foods being provided to the elderly or the very young.

Most requested items:

Canned meats like tuna and chicken

Heat and serve meals such as soup and pasta

100 percent fruit juices

Canned fruits and vegetables

Peanut butter and jelly

Mac and cheese


Healthy snacks

Indianapolis area food banks

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 414 W. Vermont St., 317-634-7002

Brightwood Community Center, 2410 N. Station St., 317-546-8200

Catholic Charities Indianapolis, 1400 N. Meridian St., 317-236-1500

Central Christian Church Community Outreach, 701 N. Delaware St., 317-635-6397

Chapel Rock Christian Church, 2020 N. Girls School Road, 317-767-4309

Christamore House Family & Community Center, 502 N. Tremont Ave., 317-635-7211

Church of God, 2702 N. Harding St., 317-925-0506

Community Alliance of the Far Eastside — CAFE, 8902 E. 38th St., 317-890-3288

Community Caring and Sharing, 2839 S. McClure St., 317-243-8023

Deliverance Temple, 8600 Meadowlark Drive, 317-895-9787

Eagle Creek Community Church, 5943 Lafayette Road, 317-291-9619

Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center, 2990 W. 71st St., 317-293-2600

First Free Methodist Church, 2024 E. 12th St., 317-638-2628

Fletcher Place Community Center, 1637 Prospect St., 317-636-3466

Forest Manor Multi-Service Center, 5603 E. 38th St., 317-545-1204

Fountain Square Salvation Army Community Center, 1337 S. Shelby St., 317-632-0156

Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, 1102 E. 16th St., 317-925-0191

Hawthorne Community Center, 70 N. Mount St., 317-637-4312

Hunger Inc., 1416 E. Epler Ave., 317-782-3321

John H. Boner Community Center, 2236 E. 10th St., 317-633-8210

Jones Tabernacle AME Zion Church, 2510 E. 34th St., 317-547-7828

Kennedy King Park Building, 617 E. 17th St., 317-327-7008

La Plaza, 8902 E. 38th St., 317-890-3292

Martin Center, 3549 N. College Ave., 317-927-5158

Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, 1920 W. Morris St., 317-639-6106

Metropolitan Baptist Center, 952 N. Pennsylvania St., 317-687-0075

Mid-North Food Pantry, 3421 N. Park Ave., 317-924-7900

Midwest Food Bank, 6450 S. Belmont Drive, 317-786-8980

MLK Community Center, 40 W. 40th St., 317-923-4581

New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, 5415 E. 34th St., 317-541-0174

Northside Baptist Church, 3021 E. 71st St., 317-255-6692

Old Bethel Methodist Church, 8032 E. 21st St., 317-354-8858

Olive Branch Christian Church, 101 E. Raymond St., 317-783-6136

Promise Land Christian Co., 802 Edgemont Ave., 317-924-0855

Servant’s Heart of Indy, 5602 Elmwood Ave., 317-788-9433

Southeast Community Services, 901 S. Shelby St., 317-236-7400

Southeastern Church of Christ, 6500 Southeastern Ave., 317-352-9296

St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5625 W. 30th St., 317-293-0372

St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, 1701 Dr. Andrew J. Brown Ave., 317-636-5775

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 4625 N. Kenwood Ave., 317-253-1461

St. Vincent de Paul Society, 1201 E. Maryland St., 317-687-0169

Vida Nueva United Methodist Church, 2801 W. Washington St., 317-638-0796

Westminster Neighborhood Ministries, 445 N. State Ave., 317-632-9785

Woodruff Place Baptist Church, 1739 E. Michigan St., 317-639-2501