Environmental Responsibility

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At Second Helpings, we’re constantly evaluating and finding new ways to lessen our impact on the environment.

Food Rescue

Environmental responsibility is at the core of our mission to reduce waste. We take food resources that no one else wants or needs to fulfill the most fundamental needs that people can’t life without — nourishing food and careers that lead to self-sufficiency.

It’s estimated that every man, woman and child in the U.S. wastes up to a pound of food every single day. In Indianapolis alone, that’s almost 1,000,000 pounds of perfectly good food headed to the landfill every day. We work with our partners in the food service industry—distributors, caterers, restaurants, grocers, and others—to safely and efficiently collect surplus and perishable food that was headed for the landfill. Every year Second Helpings rescues more than 2 million pounds of nutritious food and uses that food to transform lives through our Hunger Relief and Culinary Job Training.


Often when Second Helpings takes in food, we also take in a great deal of packaging. It would be incompatible with our mission to merely throw away this extra packaging. Second Helpings recycles all cardboard, crates, plastic and bottles that hold our food. We also recycle all of our office paper and packaging as well.


In 2011, Second Helpings partnered with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to build a water-friendly herb garden at Second Helpings. Volunteers worked hard to erect the structure, grade the land, and plant all the herbs. Now, the garden is providing the kitchens here at Second Helpings with fresh basil, parsley, mint, and oregano. These herbs will season Second Helpings’ food long into the winter.