Second Harvest Tailgate

Second Harvest of East Central Indiana passes out more than two million pounds of food a year to those in need during weekly “tailgates,” during which volunteers pass out food off of trucks packed with food items.

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Volunteers unload hundreds of pounds of food to pass out to the hundreds of cars lined up in the cold morning hours to collect bags of groceries from Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana.

Our team attended the September tailgate at Borg Warner in the parking lot across the street on the north side of State Road 32, West Kilgore Ave. Dozens of cars lined up, starting at 3:30 a.m., to receive bags of groceries from 9-11 a.m. Here’s a peek from our trip:

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Cars line up at the Second Harvest food tailgate on Sept. 28 in Muncie, IN. People stated showing up as early as 5 a.m. to wait in line for food.
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Nancy McWilliams hands out information on voting registration to people lined up in cars during the Second Harvest food tailgate on Sept. 28 in Muncie, IN. McWilliams volunteers with Second Harvest on the poverty elimination team. “To see this many people who are up at this time of the day so that they can get extras for their house is just amazing,” McWilliams said, “amazingly awful.”
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While many are sleeping in their cars waiting to receive food from Second Harvest, different types of organizations leave information they hope will be helpful at the food tailgate on Sept. 28 in Muncie, IN.
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Gary Wilkerson hangs out with his dog, Roxanne, while waiting in line at the Second Harvest food tailgate on Sept. 28 in Muncie, IN. Wilkerson lost his job and says that while he used to donate to food banks like Second Harvest, he now needs the help himself.
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Janet Hetchinson waits in line at the Second Harvest food tailgate in Muncie, IN on Sept. 28 to help support her neighbors who are in need. “We don’t mind coming and sitting in line, just to be able to help other people,” Hetchinson said.
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Cars that have been waiting in line for hours finally begin to move and receive food at 9 a.m. at the Muncie Second Harvest food tailgate.
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Volunteers unload the food truck and prepare to hand food out to the people waiting in line at the Second Harvest food tailgate on Sept. 28 in Muncie, IN.

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Volunteers at the Second Harvest food tailgate begin to load cars up with food at 9 a.m. in Muncie, IN. Second Harvest gives each car enough food for approximately three families.
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Steve Watkins directs incoming cars into lines to wait for food at the Second Harvest food tailgate on Sept. 28 in Muncie, IN. “I get paid in smiles these days,” Watkins said, referring to his experience volunteering with Second Harvest, “And it’s great to get paid in smiles.”

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Bob Alexander smiles while waiting in line at the Second Harvest food tailgate in Muncie, IN on Sept. 28. Alexander says although he lost his job and is now struggling himself, he also recognizes how lucky he is. “I’m very fortunate I think,” said Alexander. “I have my house and I have my vehicle; it’s old like me but it’s dependable. So Second Harvest is just a little help. I look around and sometimes you get to feelin’ kind of sorry for yourself, but I don’t.”

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