New Chairman of the Board Among Changes at Gleaners
Geist resident Carrie Petty shares her philanthropic passion with Indiana’s hungry
Days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana coast, Hamptons at Geist resident Carrie Petty answered a calling to help people near and dear to her heart: mothers and children. With the help of her husband Chris, Carrie quickly organized a “Bottles to Babies” program and solicited necessities for the infant victims of Hurricane Katrina. Carrie reached out to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana for help, and they responded by providing a semi truck to deliver over 42,000 lbs. of supplies to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Later that year, Petty was asked to join the board of directors for Gleaners. Fast forward to today, Petty is now the Chairman of the Board for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.
“It was a no brainer for me, I come from a ‘food family’ so this opportunity was a great fit for me,” she said. “Gleaners was just something I couldn’t say ‘no’ to.”
Carrie’s ties to food started in Anderson, Indiana with the Emge Packing Company family business. Her great-great grandparents started the company over a century ago and she grew up watching her father, Pete, along with her uncles, run the family business. This is also where she learned philanthropy, watching her mother, Guin, read to men who were illiterate and her father donated hams to the needy every Christmas and Easter.
A master gardener and self-proclaimed stay at home mom for her two boys, Reily and Austin, Carrie devotes much of her free time in philanthropic activities. Documenting the causes she supports can be exhausting. For example, she has served as the CEO of the Hamilton County Habitat for Humanity, done mission work through Second Presbyterian Church and East 91st Street Church, volunteered with the March of Dimes, donated time and family foundation funds to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, and established an outdoor learning lab at her sons’ school, Heritage Christian.
Of all her charitable endeavors, her most recent appointment as the Chairman of the Board for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana will be her biggest challenge given the changes that have happened over the last year. Longtime Gleaners founder, president, and CEO Pam Altmeyer recently stepped down to retire. Former Second Helpings CEO, Cindy Hubert, stepped in as the new CEO of the Midwest’s largest food bank on November 8, 2010.
“Whenever you have leadership change, especially after the 30 years that Pam served, it creates an opportunity to do things differently. We wish nothing but the best for Pam, but we’re also excited for our new direction and the leadership that Cindy can provide.”
One of the biggest changes this year has been moving the food bank to their new warehouse near the I-70/465 interchange on the southwest side of Indianapolis. Purchased from Monarch Beverages in 2009, the new facility has 297,000 square feet of warehouse space perfectly suited to store and distribute food to the over 400 hunger relief charities in 21 Indiana counties. Thanks to the new space and efficiencies, Gleaners distributed a record 24 million pounds of food last year.
And while the stats and future of Gleaners is promising, Carrie has a true soft spot in her heart for the depressed, downtrodden, and hopeless Hoosiers that their charity partners serve. Her spirit seems upbeat and positive around the business of Gleaners, but the sad reality of families waiting outside a soup kitchen or pantry for food brings Carrie to tears.
Having recently visited a local food pantry, Carrie was taken by the thankfulness and appreciation shown by the recipients. She found that the volunteers in the pantry were providing more than food to the pantry visitors.
“Sometimes, the biggest gift you can give someone who is in need is the gift of listening to them,” she said.
Volunteers and donations, both monetary and food, are desperately needed at Geist area shelters and food pantries. Church groups, service organizations, and families are needed to help in the collection and distribution of food in their local areas. Of course, Gleaners will also accept your donations of time, talent, and treasure as well.
“Unfortunately, money doesn’t solve the problem of hunger,” Carrie said. “Giving your time, compassion, and looking at someone in need eye-to-eye is what is going to change the world.”
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana
3737 Waldemere Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46241