Keeping our food pantry well-stocked is, of course, critical to the operations of an organization such as Share the Table. We appreciate every can of green beans and every package of rice, as well as all the other generous donations brought to our facility every week. All of these food donations helped us distribute 599,488 pounds of food equating to 504,832 meals in 2020.
There are many other aspects of keeping the place running that are often “behind the scenes” but that need continued support as well. In addition to the generous donations of food items, we also need to purchase certain foods on a regular basis to keep our food pantry shelves stocked, make our community meals, and supplement foods needed for our backpack program.
Food is the focus of our mission, but it takes more than food to run the organization. We have expenses to keep the building functioning, including rent and HVAC, so we can welcome our clients into a comforting environment. We need phone service and internet to be able to communicate with others. We also have a box truck that we use to pick up donations from local grocery stores and the Food Bank of CENC, and that requires gas and maintenance.
Share the Table depends on – and sincerely appreciates – the work of over 100 volunteers. We have one full-time and one part-time staff member, as we work with the absolute minimal necessary to ensure smooth and efficient operations. We cannot do this work without the people who volunteer their time and energy to help our clients.
One of our biggest needs right now is space. There are many people in our area who continue to be food insecure – not knowing where their next meal will come from – and that number grows each month. Last year, especially, we saw a tremendous increase in the number of people who needed our help. We do everything we can to help everyone who comes to us in need.
Our current location is small and cramped. Seems like it is getting smaller every day. In reality, of course, we are simply outgrowing the facility. We are looking forward to moving to our much larger location as soon as we can get the logistics in place.
The new facility will also enable us to provide education on nutrition, meal preparation, and budgeting that will further help those who need our help. It takes more than food to run a food pantry and it takes more than food to assist individuals trying to provide for their families on meager incomes.
Many people perceive of a food pantry as handing out food to the poor or the unemployed. While that is partly the case, we also serve the “working poor” as well as the elderly who just don’t have the resources to be able to buy food and pay the rest of their bills, including their housing expenses.
Of course, the pandemic had a huge impact on those who need our help. Feeding America points out that:
- Food banks nationwide distributed 6 billion meals to our neighbors facing hunger in 2020.
- Food banks across the country are serving 55 percent more people now than before the pandemic.
- 42 million people in the United States, including 13 million children, who may face hunger in 2021.
It takes more than food to help people in our community who are facing hunger. It takes the financial resources to run the facility and to be able to move to a larger place so we can help the growing number in need.
It takes you! You can be a Hunger Hero!
Please consider a donation to our Capital Campaign to help change the lives of those in such need in our area. Thank you for your support!