Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Shares Year in Review

  • Results following fiscal year ended September 30th.
  • CARE Mobile Pantries served 65% more individuals than in 2016.
  • Veterans and active duty military in line at mobile pantries increased by 33%.
  • The amount of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables distributed throughout our service area increased by 60% - from 4.6M pounds to 7.3M pounds.
  • SNAP outreach resulted in the equivalent of nearly 725,000 meals – the equivalent of 40% of our mobile pantry meals.

Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana held its annual meeting on October 26, 2017. At this meeting, an open board meeting included a “year in review” for board members, staff and the public.

Highlights of that year in review are shared as follows:
  • Our most important measure – more than 24,336,000 meals were distributed to hungry Hoosier families in our 21-county service area – with a monetized value of more than $55 million.
  • On May 1st Gleaners launched a regional produce processing center in support of 39 food banks in 7 Midwest states. During the 6 month test phase, over 3 million pounds of produce was shipped to 16 Midwest food banks. In 2018, that will increase to at least 15 million pounds of produce and by the end of 2020, at least 25 million pounds of produce, doubling Gleaners volume of food distributed.
  • In Gleaners’ own service area, produce distribution increased by 60%, from 4.6 to 7.3 million pounds.
  • In 2017 Gleaners, already a regional hub for Feeding America’s disaster relief efforts, shipped 12 semi-loads of critically needed food and non-food to Texas and Florida.
  • Cash donation revenues were $17.4 million – a 9% increase if the $10 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. is excluded.
  • Operating expenses decreased 6% to $8.4 million.
  • Net income improved to $1.8 million versus a loss of $500K in 2016.
  • Net assets increased to $24 million with debt of less than $500K.
  • Implemented a first-ever 3-year planning budget and multi-year agreements with donors and vendor partners.
  • Distribution center productivity dramatically increased with no increase in staff; Gleaners began sharing the facility with other non-profits on a cost-sharing basis
  • Youth programs: 9,380 children provided with weekend BackSacks every week; 23,592 BackSacks distributed to 4,278 children in the summer; 73,623 meals provided to kids at 16 locations during the summer and more than 10,000 students and families served at 52 school-based pantries.
  • Senior Hunger Initiative: 17,204 senior citizens served at 111 mobile pantry locations; 17,047 seniors served at 98 distribution locations; more than 10,000 seniors served multi-meal boxes in partnership with CICOA.
  • Mobile Food Pantries: more than 42,570 households (129,446 people) served at 260 locations across 16 counties. This equates to more than 1.8 million meals.
  • CARE Mobile Pantries (a best-in-class partnership with Indianapolis Public Safety agencies that is transforming high-risk, high-need neighborhoods and relationships through the power of food): 73,960 people served at 70 distributions – an increase of 65% over 2016. Unfortunately that included a 33% increase in the number of military veterans served. A pilot or test phase of distributing CARE food bags one-on-one was launched with IMPD East District and will soon expand to IMPD North District.
  • SNAP Outreach: more than 723,416 meals were added via Gleaners outreach programs, one-third of those were for senior citizens, many of whom did not know they were eligible.
  • We instituted a significant number of new policies, including board governance, financial management and fundraising. Most importantly, measurement, training and compensation of staff has been enhanced.
  • We also instituted a new empowerment model, with an emphasis on emerging leaders among staff and the board, as well as a strong emphasis on improving diversity by all measures – staff, board, volunteers, food sourcing, financial resource sourcing and geographic impact.
  • Every major software system, as well as associated hardware and underlying technical infrastructure was replaced in 2017 – without any disruption in service or loss of critical data.
  • As part of a very strong effort to proactively collaborate and be a genuine local resource of value in each local community Gleaners serves, staff participated in more than 100 partnerships, committees, coalitions and other organizations across all 21 counties. Gleaners also plays a leadership role in central Indiana and statewide hunger organizations.
  • Communications: Gleaners has built one-pager documents for every program and service, as well as the impact in each county served; helped lead common messaging among hunger relief organizations; organized conversations with government agencies and elected officials; and worked with media organizations as engaged corporate citizens.

Gleaners President/CEO, John Elliott, expressed enthusiasm for Gleaners’ recent progress and the future plans. “Gleaners is emerging from a period of financial challenge and significant change, which, frankly is positioning us for even greater transformational change over the next few years. Our operating and financial models are rapidly becoming more complex. We are poised to at least double the volume of food through our distribution center and we are having a meaningful, measurable impact not just on the nutritional quality of food we share, but we are doing our part to reduce the number of families in poverty who stand in food lines.”

Outgoing Board Chair Jamie Browning echoed Elliott’s enthusiasm. “It’s been my honor to serve at Board Chair for the past two years during a time of transformative change in the organization. From the seamless transition between Cindy Hubert and John Elliott as CEO, to the launch of the Regional Produce Processing Center and the Produce Hope initiative, Gleaners is innovating daily in an effort to not just feed those in line, but to reduce that line over time,” said Browning.