Table Talk, Winter 2021
In like a lion, out like a lamb. This March marks one year since every aspect of our operation shifted to adapt to COVID-19. Frankly, we’ve had enough lion to last us for the next decade. As we head into 2021, we’ll be channeling the lion’s courage with the calmness of the lamb. We’ll be taking the creativity, flexibility, and determination to provide food to our community and delivering it with kindness and dignity that have shaped our mission for the last 29 years.
Our Annual Report will be released in the next few weeks, but here’s a sneak peak: 5,100 of our neighbors turned to ONT for food in 2020, more than 1600 of them coming for help for the first time. Families with children represented more than 57% of those new faces. But every single one of them was able to shop for the food they needed each week, thanks to our unwavering corps of volunteers, our committed staff, a supportive Board of Directors, and all of the investments that YOU have made in building ONT to create universal food access, even in a pandemic.
Not since last March, have you seen long lines at ONT’s distribution sites. Don’t confuse this calm scene with a lack of need. In fact, there are now more than 10,000 neighbors facing food insecurity. As we reach more and more people, we are committed to serving our community in a way that respects our guests’ dignity, the preciousness of their time, and the need for certainty in putting food on their tables. Our online shopping portal, convenient curbside pick-ups, take-out dinners, and friendly phone support will continue to work behind the scenes to ensure that food remains universally available to all of our neighbors. We’re going to need to continue to invest in our infrastructure to ensure we can meet the need. The establishment of our Ward J Cromer Legacy Society will help us look beyond the year ahead, to prepare us for the lions of the future. There are many things from the past year that we’d like to leave in the past, but we’ll carry forward the lessons we’ve learned, the strength of our growing community of people committed to food security, and the trust we’ve built with each of our neighbors.
Our Unity perseveres,
News & Events
Ward J Cromer Legacy Society
Last year, ONT launched our formal planned giving program, allowing donors to create a legacy that feeds the future for generations to come. This growing circle of individuals and families who have made this commitment to food security are now part of the Ward J Cromer Legacy Society. Dr. Ward J. Cromer's legacy gift in 2019 gave Our Neighbors' Table the opportunity to expand our work to create food secure communities across our region. Dr. Cromer, a a Massachusetts General Hospital psychologist and gifted teacher, had a generous spirit and passion for helping children and people around the world. His parting gift will continue to impact our neighbors and provide food security for generations to come. Dr. Cromer’s life in service to others and his vision for the impacting the future inspired ONT to name the Ward J Cromer Legacy Society in his honor.
Volunteer Spotlight - Dave and Sam Lyman
Meet the dynamic father and son duo, Dave and Sam Lyman! Jen, Dave’s wife and Sam’s mom, had attended volunteer orientation in early 2020 and introduced the rest of her family to the organization. Knowing that the pandemic was impacting so many people, Dave and Sam wanted to give back by doing something at ONT. They began volunteering together in ONT’s Warehouse, helping to ensure the Market is well-stocked and ready to go for our grocery packers. As long-time Newburyport residents, both Dave and Sam love helping to put food on their neighbors’ tables. “I like helping out and knowing that I am doing something good for the community,” Sam said. Read more about Dave and Sam in this month's Volunteer Spotlight ››
ONT's volunteers are amazing and everyone knows it!
Meet the dynamic father and son duo, Dave and Sam Lyman! Jen, Dave’s wife and Sam’s mom, had attended volunteer orientation in early 2020 and introduced the rest of her family to the organization. Knowing that the pandemic was impacting so many people, Dave and Sam wanted to give back by doing something at ONT. They began volunteering in ONT’s Warehouse, helping to ensure the Market is well-stocked and ready to go for our grocery packers.
As long-time Newburyport residents, both Dave and Sam love helping to put food on their neighbors’ tables. They see behind the scenes of how much work goes into the logistics of the Market and what a big impact the time they give as volunteers makes. “I like helping out and knowing that I am doing something good for the community,” Sam said.
They also enjoy the experience of being able to volunteer together. “On the ride home together after moving boxes and setting up the shelves for the next day brings some great conversations about how fortunate we are that we can volunteer, and that ONT is a great organization that helps so many people,” Dave said.
In their free time, the Lymans are a sporty crew! Sam, a senior at Newburyport High School, plays golf, tennis, lacrosse, and hockey. Both Dave and Sam are avid skiers in the winter and try to get out boating as often as possible in the summer. They take their passion for boating very seriously in the Lyman household, as Sam works seasonally at the Freedom Boat Club and Dave volunteers at the American Yacht Club to help publish their monthly newsletter called the Sailorgram. We’re so glad that they chose to dedicate some time to ONT as valuable members of our volunteer force!
Our Neighbors’ Table is pleased to announce that we have been certified by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, as a Service Enterprise! Achieving Service Enterprise certification is a prestigious accomplishment for an organization. Our Neighbors’ Table has joined the top 11 percent of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance. Certification signifies that organizations have the capability and management expertise to strategically use volunteers to improve the performance of their organization.
ONT completed an extensive assessment, over 20 hours of training and coaching, and an extensive internal planning process to continue to improve how we integrate volunteers in all aspects of our organization and service delivery. By achieving this level of excellence and certification, Our Neighbors’ Table is now optimizing how we leverage the time and talent of volunteers to achieve our goal of universal food access.
“As an organization that operated solely with volunteers for 18 years, it was an important exercise for our team of staff to understand the unique context of working in a volunteer-led mission," said Lyndsey Haight, ONT’s Executive Director. “Going through the Service Enterprise process helped us to ensure that we are engaging and supporting volunteers to the best of our ability.”
Volunteers are an engrained part of ONT's culture and are essential for our service delivery. As an organization founded by volunteers with such strong roots in volunteerism, ONT is proud to be recognized for the participation volunteers have in our mission!
The Service Enterprise program is a national change management program that helps organizations gain a greater return on volunteer investment to better achieve their mission. For more information regarding volunteer opportunities with ONT, please visit ourneighborstable.org/volunteer. For further information regarding Service Enterprise, please contact the Massachusetts Service Alliance.