Each year Our Neighbors’ Table (ONT) has over 400 individual volunteers who contribute over 300 hours each week. A huge part of the heart of this organization is showing volunteers how much they are appreciated. You may not have known that we have a committee, made up of volunteers, who helps us to do this! This month we have decided to feature the Volunteer Appreciation Committee in our Volunteer Spotlight.
The Volunteer Appreciation Committee came about as a result of ONT’s 2012 Strategic Plan. It was determined that there was a need to formalize a group that could provide a level of support that the limited number of staff could not. This committee was set forth to be the hands and feet of ONT, recognizing the needs of our volunteers and appreciating the countless hours that are put forth in making ONT run. Improving the overall satisfaction of ONT volunteers will contribute to the longevity and sustainability of reaching our neighbors in their time of need.
Over the past four years the committee has hosted an annual volunteer appreciation event to gather volunteers across programs to thank them for contributing their time and energy to help ONT fight hunger in our region. The committee is currently working hard on planning a big event for ONT’s 25th Anniversary. We will be doing something special to honor and recognize our volunteers. It’s going to be a big party and you all are invited! Stay tuned…you’ll hear more in the coming months as plans come together!
Each year as ONT grows, this committee is unified in purpose to make the volunteer experience a memorable one. We value each person and every minute they support us with their time and talents. This is a small piece in the big picture of how we come together as a community and care for one another. If you are interested in learning how you can get involved with this committee, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Sue Andrews at email@example.com.
Starve Hunger. Feed Hope.
Our Neighbors’ Table (ONT) has been named Community Partner of the Year by The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). ONT was formally recognized at the GBFB Partner Appreciation Day on October 28th. This recognition comes as ONT kicks off the celebration of its 25th anniversary and settles into the new Jardis-Taylor Center, which opened in May 2016.
Hunger affects 1 out of every 16 people living in northeastern Essex County. Even more staggering, 1 out of every 5 of our seniors and 1 out of every 8 children are struggling through each day without enough food. Our Neighbors’ Table provides hunger relief to nearly 600 households every week through our local, mobile and home-delivery grocery programs and our Wednesday Meal.
Operating since 1992, ONT has increased the amount of food provided to the community by more than 100% since 2012, distributing 650,000 pounds of food (the equivalent of 500,000 meals) in 2015 alone. The hallmark of ONT’s programs is providing fresh produce, meat and dairy products that are most expensive or inaccessible to struggling residents. Fresh foods, sourced both from GBFB and local growers, made up more than half of all food distributed at ONT last year, including 100,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables grown within 15 miles of ONT.
“We could not possibly keep up with the growing need in our community without our partnership with The Greater Boston Food Bank. We bring approximately 15,000 pounds of food from GBFB to our warehouse every week,” shares Lyndsey Haight, ONT Executive Director. “We’ve made fresh food a priority here at ONT five years ago. We are proud and grateful to have GBFB and our local growers as partners toward this goal.”
“Our Neighbors’ Table is an exemplary partner in our mission to end hunger here across Eastern Massachusetts,” noted Catherine D’Amato, GBFB’s President and CEO. “They are always willing and ready to step up to the challenges in their area and they do this through leadership and innovation.”
ONT is in good company as other 2016 GBFB award recipients include Walmart, The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, Gold Medal Bakery, Liberty Mutual, Senator Benjamin Downing, Representative Marjorie Decker, RSA Media, and Davio’s owner Steve DiFilippo.
ONT’s grocery programs serve residents of Amesbury, Boxford, Byfield, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, West Newbury, Rowley and South Hampton (NH). Their Wednesday Meal is open to all.