Serving the Hungry - Spring 2020 Newsletter

40 Years of Fighting to End Hunger

Food pantry“I think back to how small we were, only one or two paid employees, all of the rest were volunteers — we wouldn’t have made it without them.”
– Patti (Etling) Beddow, Senior Accountant for Catholic Charities Terre Haute.

2020 marks the 40th Anniversary of Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank and over the years, while several things have changed, others will always stay the same — our commitment to serve all in our fight to end hunger and the countless volunteers that make that possible. When John E. Etling founded Catholic Charities Terre Haute in 1973, he did so alongside his wife, Patricia Etling, the first Director of Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank. With minimal staff and an army of volunteers, the positive impact made on the community could be seen almost immediately.

From its humble beginnings at the corner of 14th and Locust Streets, Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank has grown to include a network of over 90 pantries and soup kitchens and in 2019, with the help of the new facility, distributed more food than ever before — 3.74 million pounds!

“From the very beginning this partnership with the Church and the mission of Catholic Charities was always about meeting people where they are and treating them with respect and dignity. Catholic Social Teaching provided a guiding light for us in our love of others. So many times we didn’t know how we would find what was necessary, building space, equipment, or financial resources all in the effort to serve others in need of basic items. God was always there and always will be in this work.”
– Patricia J. Etling

A Word from the Agency Director

GirlDear Friends,

After four decades of serving the hungry in west central Indiana, Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank is embarking on a celebration. Anniversaries are a time to reflect on where we come from and celebrate how that path has shaped us into who we are today. Our Foodbank’s history serves as a fantastic tribute to those who came before us — those who built a strong foundation on which we can grow and lit a flame that to this day provides a light for our most vulnerable to access safe, nutritious food. We proudly continue their mission today as we strive to strengthen our community, despite consistent and considerable change, as we have proudly done for these 40 years.

Our staff, volunteers and partners work daily to ensure our member agencies have access to fresh and nutritious food. It is only because of invaluable partnerships and the unwavering support of the public that we were able to distribute more than 3.74 million pounds of food in 2019 — more than ever before.

Our generous donors continue to provide us with the means to consistently increase the amount of food we distribute. Each of these partners plays a crucial role in the fight to end hunger and the unconditional love they show for their neighbors in need serves as an inspiration for us all.

Challenges were everywhere during the early years of the Foodbank. Sourcing food to stock our shelves, determining the best ways to distribute it and trying to do so in an extremely small space all served as a hurdle that hard work and determination moved us past. Many times we were unable to fully comprehend the needs of our community. We didn’t have the access to helpful data that we do now and, unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding asking others for help. Through it all, our commitment to helping our brothers and sisters in need pushed us forward.

Internally, there has been much discussion about how to best acknowledge these 40 years of service, the more than 65 million pounds of food distributed, and the tens of thousands of men, women, and children who have relied on our services to meet their nutritional needs. This newsletter will begin our efforts to highlight the history of Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank. We invite you to participate in this year’s celebration by providing your stories — stories of partnering with us, stories of help received, and stories of hope created. Please e-mail your stories to Jessica at or call (812)232-1447, Option 3.

Help us to celebrate 40 years of Providing Help. Creating Hope. Serving All!

John C. Etling
Agency Director

Foodbank Receives Top Rating

Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank started off 2020 with a standard inspection by the AIB International Consolidated Standards for Food Distribution Centers. Receiving our highest score to date, the Foodbank scored a very respectable 930 out of a possible 1000 — well above average for foodbanks across the country.

The AIB audit scores the Foodbank on five categories:

The receipt, storage, monitoring, handling, and processing of raw materials to manufacture and
distribute safe final product.

The design, upkeep, and management of equipment, buildings, and grounds to provide a sanitary, efficient, and reliable manufacturing environment.

The cleaning and sanitization of equipment, utensils, and buildings to provide a wholesome and safe processing environment.

The assessment, monitoring, and management of pest activity to identify, prevent, and eliminate conditions that could promote or sustain a pest population.

The coordination of management support, cross-functional teams, documentation, education, training, and monitoring systems to ensure all departments of the facility work together effectively to deliver a wholesome and safe final product.

The AIB Audit, required for foodbanks in the Feeding America Network, ensures that the food we distribute to our communities is safe and our high score reflects our dedication to maintaining a clean and safe environment for handling, storing and distributing food.

“In terms of the efficiency of the Foodbank, it means we are not losing food to contamination. In terms of our employees and volunteers, it means they can be proud of the work we do.”
– John Etling, Agency Director.

Foodbanks and Food Pantries — Is there a Difference?

Very often we hear the terms “foodbank” and “food pantry” used interchangeably, but there is a very importance difference between the two.

A foodbank collects and distributes food, acting as a distribution center for food pantries, the smaller agencies serving people on the front lines. Without the work of the foodbank, a pantry may not be able to exist and without the network of food pantries, a foodbank would not be able to reach as many people in need.

So, how does the Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank actually work?


Getting nourishing, safe food to people facing hunger requires a high degree of coordination and
we rely on donors and volunteers to carry out our day-to-day operations. Without you, none of our work would be possible. We all have a role in ending hunger.

Source: Feeding America, 2020

Share your time and talent with us as a Foodbank volunteer! Call 812-232-1447.

Need Help Finding Food?

If you need help finding food or know someone who does, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479). The Hunger Hotline is available Monday – Friday from 9am – 6pm. All calls are free and confidential. Help someone you know receive the nutrition they need to remain healthy and productive.




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