It was a rainy, blustery morning on October 26, but we were warmed by the spirit of community at ONT’s Annual Breakfast. It was wonderful to gather safely in-person with new and old friends while still broadcasting to our audience at home. Dana Marshall emceed our morning and led a conversation with Pam Kealey of Newburyport Public Schools and Tress Ricker, ONT's Food Resource Advocate, about what they are hearing from our guests and neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity first-hand. Tress and Pam shared a critical perspective of community members who are living with food insecurity every day. It is crucial for us to continue to solicit feedback to ensure we are truly meeting the needs to inform our collective work going forward.
ONT’s Executive Director Lyndsey Haight shared an update about vision for a region where universal food access is a reality and ensuring that we as a community are doing more than keeping people hunger-free. Lyndsey shared about how the creation and expansion of ONT’s state-of-the-art markets in 2016 and 18 have reached thousands of people and serve as a model to reshape community-based food safety nets across the country. Every day someone shops or dines with Our Neighbors’ Table is a day they are hunger free. And every day they know they can count on us to catch them if they fall tomorrow, if something goes wrong and even in a global pandemic – is a day they can feel food secure.
The Breakfast was also a time of celebration to recognize our 2021 Community Champions. The Town of Salisbury was honored for their partnership and commitment to food security as a social and economic issue that affects everyone in their community. Bill Ginivian and Clarissa Taylor were recognized as Community Champions for their outstanding volunteer service and leadership within the ONT community. Congratulations to all!
Special thanks to our sponsors for their generous support. By uniting together as a community, our sponsors, donors and partners made it possible to provide nearly 80,000 meals to our neighbors! The recording of the broadcast is available to watch. The live program content starts at the 50 minute mark.
By Eve Lee, Chair of Our Neighbors' Table Board of Directors
Are you looking for a new way to share your time and talents with Our Neighbors’ Table (ONT)?
The ONT Board of Directors is currently seeking new members for both the board and for several of our committees. You don’t have to have previous experience serving on a non-profit board, but that’s certainly a plus.
Prior to joining the ONT board three and a half years ago, I had been volunteering at ONT for about a year or so, and I was also a member of the Fundraising committee. The mission of ensuring food security has always resonated with me, and it’s where I have chosen to focus most of my volunteering over the past 20+ years. After quickly realizing how special the ONT community was, I knew I wanted to do more.
But, in all honesty, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to join another board. I had served on the board of another organization for four years, and I didn’t love it. I loved volunteering at the other place. I loved being on their fundraising committee. But, the board, eh, not so much. It wasn’t for me. The meetings felt like an extension of my already long workday. It wasn’t much fun and I didn’t feel a fulfilling connection to the mission. It felt like work.
But the Our Neighbors’ Table board is different. That’s not to say that being on the ONT board isn’t work – because it is. It’s a serious commitment. We have bi-monthly meetings and often have conference calls in between. We are expected to do our homework - whether that be reading reports, reviewing financials, or learning how to become more effective board members – and to come to meetings prepared to weigh in on important decisions. I feel like I’m an integral part of the mission to ensure that food security becomes a reality in our region. And, there’s not one board member who isn’t there for that same reason. In every board meeting, that singular mission shines through and guides all that we do.
And, like everything associated with ONT, the board is made up of the nicest group of people you could ever hope to meet. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know so many interesting, smart folks whom I might not have met otherwise. I learn something from each of them every time we meet – and I’ve made some great new friends.
But, really, the best part of serving on the board is partnering with Lyndsey Haight and the entire ONT staff. It is an honor to be able to support their vision - and the hard work that they do every day.
If you are interested in learning more about board membership – or serving on any of the various ONT committees – please reach out. I would be happy to share my experiences and answer any questions. The ONT Board is hosting a Meet & Greet on Tuesday, October 26 after the Annual Breakfast. RSVP to join us (either in-person or virtually) to chat more about the board opportunities. Hope to see you there!