Second Helpings is a food rescue, accepting donated perishable and overstocked food to prepare thousands of nutritious meals, which are delivered to the Greater Indianapolis area each day. Their mission is to eliminate waste and transform lives through the power of food.

In March of this year, Second Helpings paired with venue staff at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Pacers to achieve a zero waste event for its annual Corks & Forks fundraiser. According to event planning officer, Statia Murphy, Corks & Forks was “a fabulous party where guests [would] rove from one great chef to the next, tasting small plates of signature dishes.” In addition to the presence of fine wines, well-known Indianapolis mixologists shook up cocktails to the beat of Jefferson Street Parade Band.

A team of staff and volunteers led by event chair Dr. Lisa Harris organized Corks & Forks. Sustainability consultant Julia Spangler as well as Murphy and Nora Spitznogle of Second Helpings, coordinated the zero waste aspect of the event. Doug Weitkamp, Pacers sports and entertainment director of operations and sustainability, also played a large part in bringing Corks & Forks to life. Without Doug’s support, Murphy says, “Corks & Forks could not have achieved zero waste.”

The Triumph

Staff at the event said that the most rewarding part of achieving a 92 percent diversion rate—meaning that 92 percent of waste generated was recycled or composted—was the surprise. Zero waste was the goal for Corks & Forks, though nobody thought it would be possible in the first year.
“So often environmental concerns can feel overwhelming and environmental initiatives can appear unrealistic. It’s rewarding to know that by working together it is manageable and there really is something we can each do,” says Murphy.
“Reaching zero waste at an event of this nature is complex,” Julia Spangler says. “Second Helpings and Pacers Sports & Entertainment fully committed to the goal and set a leading example of the level of sustainability it’s possible to achieve at an event in Central Indiana.”
Corks & Forks was the first event at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to achieve zero waste. It exclusively brought together more than 20 of the city’s top chefs and mixologists for an evening of delicious food, live music and carefully crafted drinks. Corks & Forks 2018 surely sets the tone for the year; each event held by Second Helpings is a chance to refine its logistics and process. They are already preparing for next year, and Murphy says it’s going to be even better.
Second Helpings | 1121 Southeastern Ave., Indianapolis |

Photography by Corks & Forks, Second Helpings

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