Statement on the Passing of Senator Richard Lugar

The following statement may be attributed to John Elliott, President/CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.

“We join our fellow Hoosiers, the nation, and the world in mourning the passing of Senator Richard Lugar, a tireless champion of the hungry and marginalized throughout the world.

Senator Lugar’s dedication to nutrition programs and his visionary realization of the connection between nutrition and educational achievement leave a lasting legacy on our community and our country. Our nation has never had a greater advocate for hungry neighbors than Richard Lugar.

During his public service as a school board member, mayor and US Senator, and as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Lugar fought creatively for the 1 in 8 Americans who are food insecure. He tirelessly defended the School Lunch Program, including the critical Child Nutrition Reauthorization in 1998, which provides 1 in 5 meals to hungry Hoosier families even today. Lugar sponsored improvements to and continued funding of the SNAP and WIC programs. Lugar’s Good Samaritan Act was the legal impetus for retail food store donations of nutritious, perishable food that quickly become the greatest source of corporate food donations to the national hunger relief network.

Even after he left office, Senator Lugar remained an engaged and interested partner in hunger relief, visiting the food bank several times in recent years. When the national Feeding America network launched regional produce co-operatives across the country and Gleaners was chosen to operate the co-op which now serves food banks across nine states, Lugar joined us to share keynote remarks at the May 2017 launch. Last fall, Gleaners hosted a celebration of Senator Lugar’s lifetime contributions to hunger relief, as well as three generations of the Lugar family’s demonstrating the Rotary motto of 'Service Above Self.' The event served as Rotary’s launch of Indy Do Day. At this event, one tree was planted in Lugar’s honor, with a second tree planted in honor of his brother Tom, exemplifying their shared belief in service and commitment to others.

As a former US diplomat, I am honored to have known Lugar the statesman, global peace leader and nuclear non-proliferation expert. As a former Boy Scout and Scout leader, I am honored to have known Lugar the Eagle Scout. As the leader of the largest hunger relief charity in Indiana, I am honored to have known Lugar the greatest advocate of hunger relief legislation in our history. As a Rotarian, I am honored to have learned from the one man who embodied Service Above Self more than any other. As a native Hoosier, I am honored to have learned how to be true to and cherish my Indiana heritage from a man who embodied who we are as Hoosiers – Richard G. Lugar – a man of great humility who fills me with gratitude.”