ONT’s Annual Breakfast is a time when we typically gather together and chart our progress toward making sure all of our neighbors have access to wholesome, nutritious food every day. This year, while we could not gather in-person, it was more critical than ever for us to see how we are meeting the unprecedented need across the region.
The Annual Breakfast was broadcast live from ONT’s Market at the Jardis-Taylor Center on October 20. This year’s theme was “Unity in Community” in honor of the extraordinary efforts of so many to ensure our neighbors have food on their tables. Despite the virtual nature, the spirit of ONT was alive and captured thanks to pre-record videos of ONT partners, volunteers and former guests. Viewers saw that universal food access is possible, even in a pandemic, when a community comes together.
ONT Board Member Dana Marshall of 92.5 the River returned to emcee the morning and hosted a conversation with former guest Dot, who bravely and movingly shared her story. Dana also presented the 2020 community champion awards, another highlight of the broadcast. Beloved ONT volunteer and board member Bob Murciak was honored as the individual champion for his unwavering dedication to ONT. The four school districts of Amesbury, Newburyport, Pentucket and Triton were recognized as champions for going above and beyond to connect their neighbors and students with food in this unprecedented time. Congratulations 2020 Community Champions!
Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Institution for Savings, who kicked the broadcast off with a surprise $10,000 match challenge. This challenge helped ONT raise a record-breaking $80,000, which will put over 80,000 meals on the tables of our neighbors. Thanks to everyone who gave and helped spread the word to exceed that challenge! Thank you also to all of our sponsors, who supported this event and hosted virtual watch parties. And huge thanks to LMV Productions for donating his time and talent behind the camera to make the broadcast an inspiring one.
The recording of the Breakfast broadcast is available if you’d like to view the inspiring morning. Stay tuned to our social media channels as we continue celebrating Unity in Community throughout the rest of the year!
Throughout the month of April, local restaurants are teaming up to Fill Your Neighbor’s Plate, a campaign designed to support Our Neighbors’ Table’s mission to provide nourishing food to the thousands of local residents in need. The campaign will be featured in a growing list of restaurants including: Agave, The Grog, Lexie’s, Metzy’s Cantina, Michael’s Harborside, Mr. India, the Port Tavern, Paddle Inn and The Poynt (Newburyport); Crave, The Coop Rotisserie, Trina’s Starlite, and Phat Cats Bistro (Amesbury); and Capri and Seaglass (Salisbury).
Diners are invited to add a “virtual meal” - tax-deductible donation to ONT - to their restaurant bill. Suggested donation amounts are: $10, enough to provide a week’s worth of fresh produce, meats and dairy to a guest shopping in Our Neighbors’ Table’s markets; or $25 to support a family of four dining at ONT’s Wednesday Meal for an entire month. Every $1 puts another meal on the table for a local individual or family in need.
“This campaign is so important to help raise awareness of hunger in our community. With more than 6,000 people struggling to keep food on their tables each day, every bit that people can pitch in makes a real difference,” said Lyndsey Haight, Executive Director of Our Neighbors’ Table. “We are thankful to our restaurant partners for helping to spread our mission to their guests and to all of the diners who donate a virtual meal to feed a neighbor.”
Hunger affects 1 out of every 16 people living in northeastern Essex County. That means there are 6,000 neighbors with empty plates on their tables. Even more staggering, 1 out of every 5 of our seniors and 1 out of every 8 children in our region are struggling through each day without enough food. Our Neighbors’ Table has eliminated the traditional approach of strict schedules, cumbersome qualification and limited food selection by offering people-centric experiences and access to fresh, wholesome food when and where people throughout northeastern Essex County need it. Our grocery programs provide food assistance to individuals and families living in Amesbury, Boxford, Byfield, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, South Hampton (NH), and West Newbury. Visit ourneighborstable.org for more information.
Thank you to our 2019 restaurant partners!
This year's Annual Breakfast was an inspiring morning celebrating the collective impact of the community joining together to create food security. 2018 has seen ONT continuing to grow and serve more people than every before. Guests have walked through our market doors - at our central market and at our mobile markets - 20,450 times in 2018. More than 1,000 people - children, seniors, adults with disabilities, working adults and parents - who have not received help before are finding the help they need.
The theme of the morning was "Food Security Starts With You." None of ONT's impact would be possible with the volunteers, donors, and community partners that work together daily to ensure that none of our neighbors have to go hungry. In this spirit, ONT honored our 2018 Community Champions for their contributions. Sue Ranshaw and Betty Elliott were honored as individual champions for their over a decade of service to the organization and their role in starting and maintaining a mobile market in Merrimac. The Amesbury Council on Aging was honored as the organization champion for being a critical partner in creating a Food Secure Amesbury and ensuring that none of our Amesbury seniors have to worry about getting their next meal.
But perhaps the highlight of the morning was a conversation with 3 community members as to what ONT and food security means to them. Dr. Gail Fayre, Chief Medical Officer at Anna Jacques Hospital, Bob Murciak, an ONT volunteeer, and Kellyn Nahas, owner of the Barking Dog Ale House Group and ONT board member, each shared their powerful personal stories in a discussion monitored by emcee Dana Marshall of 92.5 the River.
In a true connection of the theme, the over 200 event attendees rose to the challenge giving $25 or more to provide someone with 1 meal a day for a month. Over $26,000 was raised by the breakfast, enough to provide 40 people with 3 meals a day for an entire year! Check out the Newburyport News article covering the breakfast.
Thank you to all our sponsors who made the breakfast possible!
This year’s annual breakfast was a celebration of the incredible growth in service thanks to the support of our community. In 2016, Our Neighbors’ Table provided 550,000 meals to nearly 3,000 local residents. This year we will fill one million plates for our neighbors in need – already reaching our projections for 2020.
This time last year, approximately 800 shoppers came through our market each month. Today, that number tops 1400 in a 4 week period. Guests are responding more than ever to the new level of dignity, effectiveness and efficiency offered by the Jardis-Taylor Center. And we anticipate that response to only continue to grow in the coming year as we seek to expand our programs to alleviate hunger for more individuals. Thank you to all the community partners, volunteers and supporters who have shaped our mission over the last 25 years. You are what is going to make our work possible for as long as there are people in our community who are hungry. In this spirit, the breakfast honored the Institution for Savings and Jim & Pat Smith, longtime volunteers, for their incredible support and contributions to ONT as the 2017 Community Champions.
We were thrilled to have over 200 attendees join us for the annual breakfast. Special thanks to Dana Marshall of 92.5 the River for serving as event emcee. We were also honored to have Erin Lynch, Executive Director of the Franklin Food Pantry, join us to share her moving story of her family’s personal struggle with hunger. The event closed with exciting announcement of a $5,000 challenge match from an anonymous donor and our guests were more than up for the challenge! They responded with $11,000 in donations, bringing our total raised to over $27,000 and putting over 27,000 meals on the table!
Thank you to all of our sponsors who helped make the event possible!
Our Neighbors' Table is thrilled to announce that Dana Marshall, On Air Host with 92.5 the River, will the the Emcee for the 2017 Annual Breakfast! We are fortunate to also have Erin Lynch, Executive Director of the Franklin Food Pantry, join us as the 2017 Guest Speaker.
2017 Emcee: Dana Marshall of 92.5 the River
Dana jumped into radio in Vermont in the 90s and never looked back. In 2000, she moved to Newburyport to begin what would be a long and satisfying career at the River. During her tenure (to date), Dana was Music/Program Director, On Air Host, and creator of such radio programs as Acoustic After Dark and the Boston favorite, Brunch by the River. Dana was instrumental in creating and curating the Newburyport Riverfront Festival in conjunction with the Newburyport Chamber. “It’s become one of the things I’m proudest of – bringing a premiere, free music festival to the Port!” Dana said. Mother of a grown daughter living and thriving in Colorado, Dana lives in the Newburyport area with her “partner in everything,” Marshall, as well as a 3 year old yellow lab, Jazz.
2017 Guest Speaker: Erin Lynch, Franklin Food Pantry
Erin has dedicated the past twenty years of her career to strengthening nonprofit organizations. She holds national certification in Nonprofit Leadership through the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Innovation. In her previous roles she served as Executive Director of a seventeen-organization strategic alliance, secured a multimillion dollar community grant for the Phoenix area, administered the Arizona Department of Economic Security Volunteer Services contract, and served with the Points of Light Foundation. She currently resides in Franklin with her two children and enjoys working with this community towards a time when no children go hungry.
Please join us at the Annual Breakfast to celebrate a year of amazing growth for Our Neighbors' Table! We are on track to serve 1 million meals this year, nearly double what we served in 2016. This incredible impact is thanks to the support ONT receives from the community. Tickets and sponsorships to the Annual Breakfast are still available, click here to purchase.
Our Neighbors' Table Annual Breakfast
Most Needed Items
Canned Solid White Tuna
Canned Meals (Ravioli, SpaghettiOs®, Beef Stew)
Bottled Juice/Juice boxes
Boxed Pasta and Rice
Diapers & baby wipes
The pantries are very grateful to the National Association of Letter Carriers for this very important drive, and are hoping that the public will donate as generously as possible to help them feed the individuals and families who come to them each day for assistance. Letter carriers will pick up food donations left at customers’ mailboxes on the morning of Saturday, May 13.
Most Needed Items
The pantries appreciate all donations of non-perishable food items and personal care products, but are particularly in need of the following:
Gluten-free foods, Peanut Butter, Canned Solid White Tuna, Canned Chicken, Baked Beans, Canned Meals (Ravioli, SpaghettiOs®, Beef Stew), Canned Fruit, Bottled Juice, Juice boxes, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Cereal, Pasta, Boxed Pasta and Rice, Soup, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Deodorant, Diapers, baby wipes and feminine products. (NOTE: Glass jars sometimes break during this collection – consider plastic/canned options instead!)
Please help us by checking expiration/best buy dates on your donations. Remember to only donate things that you would want to eat yourself!
If You Miss the Food Drive and Would Still Like to Donate
If you miss the food drive and would like to make a donation, please contact one of the pantries below for information about dropping off items directly. Each of the pantries would be very grateful to accept your donations!
Did You Know?
- The food pantries listed above collectively serve residents in the following cities and towns: Amesbury, South Hampton, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, West Newbury, Groveland, Byfield, Boxford, Rowley and Georgetown.
- Currently, there are more than 6,000 people living in northeastern Essex County who are struggling with food insecurity. That’s 1 out of 16 people, 1 out of 8 children, and 1 out of 5 seniors. (Greater Boston Food Bank/feedingamerica.org)
- More than 3,000 individuals accessed food assistance from the local food pantries in 2016.
Community Action, Inc., Amesbury: Dianne Halloran, 44A Friend Street (978) 388-2570
Community Services, Newburyport: Betty Leary, 31 Green St (978) 465-7562
Our Neighbors’ Table, Amesbury/Merrimac: Lori Townsend, 194 Main Street (978)388-1907 www.ourneighborstable.org
The Pettengill House, Inc., Salisbury: Richard Henderson, 13 Lafayette Road (978) 463-8801 www.pettengillhouse.org/
Seventeen local restaurants teamed up with ONT for the Fill Your Neighbor's Plate campaign. Diners added virtual meals - $10 fresh platters and $25 family meals - to their orders and collectively raised enough for 10,000 meals! Every restaurant - from the owners and managers to all of the floor staff were vital partners in helping raise awareness about need in our community and simple ways every one of us can help. Congrats to the team at Ceia for raising the most money. Thank you to all of you who dined out and helped us fill those plates!
Behind the scenes, more than 20 local residents hosted private dinner parties for our Table to Table campaign. From gourmet dinners for 10 to festive buffets and spirits for 40, every event was unique but they all shared a common goal - to spread the word about hunger in our region and introduce new friends to the important work here at ONT. And what a success it was, raising more than $17,000 and bringing nearly 200 new supporters to ONT! If you're interested in becoming a host for next year's Table to Table Campaign, email Betsy for more information!
Our VIP tent, sponsored by Stone Ridge Properties, will give our team the support they need and deserve to make their day a success. Show them your support by cheering them on along the race route!
Josiah Lilly: I have decided to run out hunger because I believe food should not be considered a luxury and it has become a class issue in this country. I believe that Our Neighbors Table has a tremendous impact on our local community and I'm honored to help.
Peter Siess: As someone who has a passion for both running and Amesbury, joining the Run Out Hunger Team was an easy decision. I joined to support the organization that I feel is a great asset for the Amesbury community, and challenge myself to be a part of the solution in helping those in need
Stephanie Watson Yaeger: When I heard about this team, I couldn't resist the opportunity to join, run with and fundraise for ONT. My reason is "Why Not?!" This is a great way to give back to a local community and "why not" add an extra challenge and fundraise for an amazing non-profit! I am so grateful for the opportunity to help my neighbors in any way I can. Thank you ONT!
Kathryn Racanelli: I am an art therapist working with adults with severe mental illness and co-occurring addictions. Most of my clients are on a fixed income or have no income and often struggle with food stability. I saw the races and thought it'd be a great way to get back into running and also raising awareness of an ever-present struggle.
Newburyport restaurant Loretta will be partnering with Our Neighbors’ Table (ONT) through 2017. After a year of getting to know the organization and looking for the perfect way to collaborate, Loretta owner Ted Epstein will donate 15% of sales on the first Tuesday of every month to Our Neighbors' Table! The campaign will actually kick off on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 and run through December 2017.
Loretta guests will experience the same high quality food and service as they always do and know that their dining experience is helping local community members. For those who are interested in making their own contribution, information about Our Neighbors’ Table will be available through the restaurant staff. Every $1 donated through this campaign will provide 1 meal through Our Neighbors’ Table’s programs.
“We’ve long sought ways to partner with our local restaurants. We know how demanding the restaurant business is, but we also know how passionate so many local restaurant owners and staff are about sharing food with others. Ted’s idea was perfect!” shares ONT Executive Director Lyndsey Haight.
For more information on Loretta, visit their website www.lorettarestaurant.com.
My mom, Angeline, was a wonderful cook, and a great collector of recipes. As part of my work as Executive Director of the Amesbury and Merrimac Housing Authorities, I published a regular newsletter for our residents and would always include some of Mom’s recipes on the back page, under the heading The Recipe Lady. The residents loved these recipes, not only because they were delicious, but because they used common, inexpensive ingredients and seasonings – perfect for anyone on a budget who loves great food.
I was introduced to Our Neighbors' Table during my tenure at the housing authorities. Once I became aware of the mission and the good work that was being performed by ONT, I became a devotee. Our Neighbors' Table was a force of good that would assist our residents in a multitude of ways, not the least of which was to enhance “food security” by providing good nutrition, on a regular basis. Over the last decade, I have seen Our Neighbors’ Table expand its mission and outreach, even in the midst of difficult economic times for small charities. I get deeply involved in causes that I believe in, and Our Neighbors’ Table is one of my favorite charities.
My participation in Our Neighbor’s Table was so important to me before my mom passed away in 2014 at the age of 97; and now especially after her death, it is a way I can continue to honor her and stress those things that were very important to her.
To honor my mother and to keep her memory alive, I have put together the best of her recipes in a cookbook called, appropriately, The Recipe Lady. The initial run of the “The Recipe Lady” cookbook will be paid for in full by my family to honor this great lady. All of the proceeds will go directly to Our Neighbors’ Table. One of the single most important aspects of mom’s life was “La Famiglia” (the family). I am sure she would be very pleased to know that her recipe collection will benefit families in need and give them the opportunity to gather together each day around the dinner table with a wonderful meal to nourish their bodies, minds and spirit.
Working with charities is an American Tradition. For me, the most important contribution I can make is to assure that elders, the disabled, and especially families with children have access to good nutrition. It's getting back to the basics. And it's about staying local.