The Franklin Food Pantry takes stock, gives thanks and reflects on its role as a “piece of the puzzle”

Each year the Franklin Food Pantry assesses its accomplishments and how it can better serve the needs of the community. The Pantry has been taking steps toward a three year plan of action that encompasses clarifying its mission and role, and establishing short and long-term priorities. Over the next three years, Franklin Food Pantry hopes to achieve a solid infrastructure including expanded Board and Committee membership; enhanced client services and outreach; a first annual community dinner, and development for future facility improvements.

Franklin Food Pantry
Franklinfoodpantry.org/

The Franklin Food Pantry currently provides service to approximately 600 households; which translate to 1590 neighbors, 35% of whom are children. Many of these households have at least one working adult but are still unable to make ends meet. Linda Sottile, Director of Operations, stated that in Fiscal Year 2012, the Pantry distributed 186,000 pounds of food, which is an increase of 35,000 pounds over last year. The Pantry has also seen a 43% increase in clients returning weekly for bread and produce. To help meet the steadily rising need for services, the Board of Directors brought on Erin Lynch to serve as Director of Development. Ms. Lynch has a strong background in nonprofit leadership and community building, which aligns with the Pantry’s goal to create a broad network of resources collaborating on sustainable solutions.

Together the staff and board have used the last six months to evaluate the Pantry’s image, message and goals for the future. First on the list was to design a logo symbolizing its philosophy and role in the community. With the expertise of Ian Kabat, Director at the Franklin Art Center, the Pantry found their new logo in the image of a circular shaped puzzle made up of four pieces: people connected and unified in a common purpose. Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, Ms. Lynch said “The decision to break away from traditional images associated with food pantries, such as corn husks or loaves of bread, was intentional to relay the larger message that the Pantry is a collaboration of all residents to nourish each other in body, mind and spirit. While we are here to fill a significant need, we are only a piece of the total puzzle.”

“We are all in this together,” states Steve Sherlock, Franklin Food Pantry’s Board President. “There are many factors and circumstances that create food-insecurity. We feel well suited to take the lead with other Franklin agencies and organizations to make available the necessary resources for those who can benefit from them.” The primary role of the Pantry will continue to be to provide immediate hunger relief but it will also play a pivotal role in bringing the community together as one.

Building the infrastructure necessary to do the work is essential. “We depend on the support of our community: the dedicated volunteers, donors, corporate partners, schools, churches and all of our neighbors to reach our goals. Food, non-food and financial donations are greatly appreciated at all times throughout the year. We are thankful for the continued support and efforts of every individual and group that has paved the way to nutrition and steady meals for our community,” said Lynch. Fundraising events are planned to stock the shelves, drive awareness and engage the community in fun ways, including a Fight Hunger Paintball Challenge on September 21st at Fox 4 Paintball in Upton. To RSVP please contact Glenn Jones at gf_jones@verizon.net or 508-439-7011.

Here are some ways folks can help and raise awareness:

September is Hunger Action Month
Be part of the puzzle. Hunger Action Month is sponsored by Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks in America working together to end hunger. Stand up and be counted….on! Here are ways to easily raise awareness and support for the Franklin Food Pantry and local food banks everywhere: 

Volunteer:Become a volunteer of The Franklin Food Pantry during September and all year long. Complete a volunteer sign-up form indicating your interests online at www.franklinfoodpantry.org/volunteer. Then tell your family and friends that you made a difference on Facebook or Twitter. Lend your profile picture to Hunger Action Month. For everything orange, visit: http://feedingamerica.org

Take the SNAP Challenge:Eat on just $4.50 a day. Shop for your meals with the daily average per person benefit provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) to get a sense of some of the challenges faced by those struggling to put food on the table. Budget $4.50 for the day and share your experience with family and friends to raise awareness of the importance of this critical nutrition program.

The Franklin Food Pantry looks forward to working with its neighbors and friends toward a healthier, stronger community for all. For more information on how you can be a piece of the puzzle, please contact: Erin Lynch, Director of Development at erin@franklinfoodpantry.org or at 508-528-3115; or visit us at www.franklinfoodpantry.org.

About The Franklin Food Pantry
Established in 1987, the mission of the Franklin Food Pantry is to provide immediate hunger relief and healthy sustainable solutions, by empowering the community through resources, education and collaboration. It is part of the Greater Boston Food Bank network and depends entirely on support and donations from volunteers, corporate partners and the community at large. The Franklin Food Pantry is located at 43 West Central Street, Route 140 and can accept donations during business hours, Tuesday – Friday, 9am -1pm. Non-perishables may also be dropped off after hours in the bin by the front door, or monetary donations may be mailed to Franklin Food Pantry, PO Box 116, Franklin MA 02038. For more information, visit us at franklinfoodpantry.org, become a fan on Facebook, or call us at 508-528-3115. The Franklin Food Pantry is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization FEIN # 04-3272663.