From the Executive Director
770 Pawtucket Drive
Westfield, IN 46074
Dear Friends of Helpings of Hope,
When I started Helpings of Hope five years ago I never dreamed of the growth we have experienced — even during a pandemic!
Initially, I started Helpings of Hope as a response to seeing the devastating effects of hunger, food insecurity, and poverty on the health of individuals. Being a registered dietitian for over twenty years, I grew tired of seeing wide gaps in the lack of access to good healthy nutritious foods. So, I did something about it and founded Helpings of Hope. We are a 501(c)3 not-for-profit that aims to build relationships and community by using food as a platform. We take a holistic approach to eliminating hunger and food waste through community-driven programs that center around community gardens, nutrition, and food education.
The board of directors discovered that in the Nora area of Indianapolis there is a large and diverse immigrant and refugee community, with over one hundred different languages spoken and a poverty rate of 20 percent. Immigrant and refugees earn lower wages and are twice as likely to be poor as foreign-born naturalized citizens. As a result, children in immigrant households suffer from economic hardship and food insecurity more than other children. In light of the recent COVID 19 virus, it will be vital to provide low-income neighbors a place where they can grow their own food because of being more vulnerable in this volatile economy.
In 2015, Helpings of Hope started Nora Community Garden on the grounds of New Heights Church, thus fulfilling our mission to grow healthy nutritious food for the community. Nora Community Garden is ever-evolving and in five short years we have gone from a “donation only” garden to including over forty community gardeners representing nine countries. The gardeners are able to re-connect to the soil and grow native produce that is important to their diet and culture. This year, Helpings of Hope impacted 160 people by providing them opportunities to grow their own food with less dependence on public assistance. Our donation garden also donated over one hundred pounds of fresh produce to an inner city soup kitchen.
Helpings of Hope also became a community partner to teach Cooking Matters classes. This is a program that empowers families at risk of hunger to shop for and cook healthy, affordable meals; it is a part of the No Kid Hungry Campaign. We are proud to be partnering with Raphael Health Center in providing these much-needed classes.
This year many of us had to find a “new normal” during this most difficult time. Despite the pandemic, Helpings of Hope has forged ahead and continues to find innovative ways to meet the needs of our neighbors. We look forward to 2021 with our same optimism and see not just challenges, but also opportunities to grow. Many of our immigrant gardeners want to sell their own produce and Helpings of Hope wants to be that support for them.
That is why on Tuesday, November 24th through Friday, November 27th, we are hosting a fundraiser called “Thanks 4 Giving.” It is a four day fundraising campaign to raise $3,000 for start up costs for our vegetable farm stand and to provide a stipend for a garden manager. We are asking for your support. Please tune in to our social media outlets and website to donate during this time for this much needed cause.
We can’t do what we do without your support. It means so much to us that you believe in what our organization is doing to help our neighbors who are food insecure in Indianapolis, especially during these unprecedented times.
Again, thank you so much for your kind generosity!
Kitty Seelig, Executive Director
Helpings of Hope, Inc.