Happy June! The days are growing longer, the sun is finally coming out and we are seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel. This year certainly brought out the best in our community and we are so grateful to all of you for your support. Through all of the storms, cloudy days and now sunshine, The Pantry has been there for our neighbors and will continue to serve our community.
During the past year we changed the way we served our neighbors without changing what we did: providing healthy food and support. Learn what happened at The Pantry during the Covid-19 Pandemic:
- When our doors had to physically close to our neighbors, we rapidly switched to a twice a week curbside pick-up. Our neighbors received a choice of three proteins, fresh produce (often from Franklin’s own community gardens,) a bag of shelf stable goods and a special bag of food designed just for kids.
- Instead of monthly scheduled times, neighbors could come weekly.
- We added new programs such as Home Delivery and kids bags for families.
- We developed new supply chain methods, providing over 30% more fruits and vegetables to our neighbors despite discontinuation of many partner programs.
- We reinvented roles for our volunteers such as filling bags, calling neighbors, delivering to homes and contactless distribution, keeping volunteers safe.
- We shifted our larger fundraisers to virtual events, including a reimagined Party for The Pantry, an online Empty Bowls event and auction as well as a virtual Turkey Trot.
What stayed the same?
- We continued to see the spirit of our community shine through in support of our neighbors – your generosity was unparalleled!
- We still connected with our neighbors to not only provide food but to offer support or just share a friendly face (even if it was masked).
- We delivered weekend backpacks to 57 Franklin school children weekly to give them meals and snacks over the weekend.
- We purchased a new building at 138 East Central Street, but for now we are staying at our current location while we finalize plans and launch our Capital Campaign.
- We held our annual Thanksgiving and December holiday distribution serving over 200 hundred families for each.
- We undertook strategic visioning and shifted staff and Board members into positions that capitalized on their expertise while addressing the changing needs of our community. While there may be different titles with the names, the same dedicated people are running The Pantry and working hard for our neighbors.
- The need for The Pantry did not change – it grew. Compared to 2019, we served 18% more households, with a 36% increase in number of children served.
While we don’t always know what will happen, this year taught us one thing: the need for compassion will never change. Thank you for sharing your compassion at unprecedented levels this year. We are honored to work with you every day to assist our neighbors.
With deepest appreciation and gratitude,
Executive Director Franklin Food Pantry