Amesbury Market Returns to In Person Shopping!
After three years of our curbside grocery model, Our Neighbors' Table has officially returned to in person shopping! While we didn't anticipate such a rapid shift in our programs back in 2020, we are still humbled by the response. Within just a few weeks of the world shutting down, ONT pivoted towards an online ordering system to keep people safe and well fed with almost no interruption. Over the next 36 months, we were able to serve over 88,000 grocery orders to 6,200 neighbors. In fact, over 3,900,000 pounds of food was distributed through the Jardis- Taylor Center during this time. We'd like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone involved over the last three years. During a time of change for many, you have provided a sense of stability with your time and or treasure.
It's only fitting that we resume in person shopping on the 7th anniversary of the Jardis-Taylor Center; a market where guests can shop at no cost, but also feel a sense of community while pushing their cart. This time around, we have expanded our shopping area, so more guests can shop with lesser wait times. There will be volunteers every step of the way to help reach high items, answer questions, and restock the shelves, just like any other grocery store.
Although our market reopened on Thursday, May 18, we hope you will join us on Thursday, May 25 at 9:30am for the official ribbon cutting! As always, thank you for your continued support. We'll see you soon!
More Volunteers Needed
ONT is fortunate to have a dedicated volunteer base. But with our programs re-opening, we have more shifts to fill and we need more volunteers to join our team! Current volunteer opportunities include: greeting and assisting guests shopping in the market, food prep and kitchen assistance for the Wednesday Community Meal, stocking shelves in the warehouse, intake of new guests and more.
If you have never volunteered with us before, the first step is to fill out a volunteer application. You'll then register for volunteer orientation and after attending orientation you will be able to sign-up for shifts.
If you have volunteered in the past, and would like to return, please complete our brief records update. Questions? Reach out to ONT's Community Engagement Coordinator Ben Quintal via email or at 978-388-1907 x10.
Life Is Better Full
Summer Lunch Program Returns
Seacoast Regional Food Hub Update
Volunteer Spotlight: Ron Starr
Ron Starr first got involved with Our Neighbors’ Table after semi-retiring in 2021. He sought something meaningful to occupy his time, and after a few nudges from his neighbor Lyndsey, he became a regular volunteer in our warehouse. When asked about his volunteer experience, Ron said that he thoroughly enjoys the shared sense of community, which makes it easier to connect with everyone. “Nobody has to be here, but we choose to be here today, it really makes the camaraderie easy.”
Some of Ron’s most memorable moments have come from wearing his ONT T-shirt while picking up food orders during his shift. When people see the logo on his shirt, he often hears wonderful testimonials from current or former guests. However, Ron’s most memorable moment as a volunteer was when a store clerk decided to put out a donation cup for ONT. He couldn’t believe the amount of people willing to contribute!
Ron has lived in Amesbury for over 36 years, although he has always been a North Shore resident. He grew up in Danvers before working as the Director of Media Studios at Northeastern University. He has also worked with local news channels and specializes in video production. In his free time, Ron enjoys spending time with his three grandchildren, who he sees about 5 days per week. He is also putting the finishing touches on his June wedding! We’re extremely fortunate to have volunteers like Ron on our team!
Join ONT to Sponsor & Serve!
Thanksgiving Dinner Provided to 1039 Households!
I hope you're reading this issue of Table Talk after enjoying quality time with your loved ones this Thanksgiving. Whether with family, friends or neighbors, we’ve all come to value quality time with one another more than ever. The last two and a half years taught us the power of community, the might of our village. Together we ensured that no one went hungry through the COVID-19 crisis. It will continue to take our entire village to ensure we catch those who continue to be impacted by rising costs and long-term effects of the pandemic. ONT is more committed than ever to move forward as a collective, bringing together our partners from schools, city departments, councils on aging and the community at-large to root out and address food insecurity across our region. Together, we have created a vision for what a food secure region looks like. Now, together we must set our strategic course and put the proper tools in place.
Over the next two months you are going to hear from us that we need to hear from YOU. Whether you are a donor, a volunteer, a partner, or a neighbor; whether you have supported someone or you have directly experienced food insecurity, we need your input into our 3-year strategic plan. Mark your calendars and register now for our Community Forum, Tuesday, December 6, 5:30 at Newbury Elementary School. Click here to register
You’ll also be hearing about the work that ONT and its Seacoast Food Provider partners are undertaking to ensure that our communities have robust food safety nets to catch anyone who needs it. Our Seacoast Regional Food Hub will provide critical shared infrastructure to grocery and meal programs across the Lower Merrimack Valley.
Whether you can make a financial investment, give voice to those in need or spread the word among those who can help, you play a critical role in this Village bringing us closer to our goal of a Food Secure Region by 2029.
You have my sincerest gratitude.
Thank You for Attending the 2022 Annual Breakfast!
Presented by: Institution for Savings
“It Takes a Village” was the theme of ONT’s 2022 Annual Breakfast and we were thrilled to gather with our village of donors, volunteers and partners on the last Tuesday in October at Blue Ocean Event Center. The Annual Breakfast is ONT’s true celebration of the efforts of so many to create a food secure region. Dana Marshall returned as our Master of Ceremonies, and Board president Eve Lee presented the Community Champion Award to our fellow Seacoast Food Providers. These organizations are dedicated to our shared mission of ending food insecurity in Northeastern Essex County. Thank you to all of the sponsors and donors who helped raise a record breaking $97,000!
Volunteer Spotlight: Licia Britton
Licia Britton has been an active member of Our Neighbors’ Table for almost 15 years. She has played a vital role in many programs including our Warehouse, Market, and Wednesday Meal. Most recently, she has been a mainstay of our Guest Ordering position, where she assists guests who are unable to place their orders online. Our “Outbound Callers” have been instrumental in increasing food accessibility to our guests without computers or smartphones. When asked about her tenure at ONT, Licia says “I have watched the organization grow and the number of people we serve has grown, which is great to see.” Her favorite thing about volunteering has been building relationships with our guests, many of which she considers to be her friends. Read more about Licia in this month’s Volunteer Spotlight. Before moving to Amesbury 15 years ago, Licia lived in New York. Her favorite borough is Manhattan because of the amount of things to do at once. She has a background in finance, and spent most of her career with Fidelity investments. Outside of volunteering, Licia is usually working on her house. She also loves cooking and gardening. Licia is a longtime member of Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Newburyport and loves it!
Thank you Licia, for your continued support towards ONT and the personal touch you offer our guests with every phone call. We appreciate you!
How to Help During the Holidays
The season of giving is upon us! Our Neighbors’ Table services are only possible thanks to the village of volunteers, donors and community partners who make food security a priority. Here’s how you can help this holiday season:
News and Events
Need is on the Rise Again
Darling Consulting volunteers after their Market Sponsorship.
Sponsor and Serve Details
Wednesday Meal: 2 - 4 sponsor volunteers help package up to-go meals and pass them out the guests. Available Wednesdays from 3pm - 5pm.
Amesbury Market: 4-6 sponsor volunteers help pack the customized grocery orders for guests. Available Thursdays - Saturdays for 2.5 to 4 hour shifts, timing based on the day.
Sponsorship Cost: starting at $500
Next Steps: Interested in scheduling your meal or market sponsorship date? visit https://www.ourneighborstable.org/group-opportunities.html to learn more or to get your preferred date booked.
Bring on Summer! Grocery Program is a Lifeline
News & Events
Welcome to our New Staff!
ONT has recently welcomed a few new members to the team since January: Dan Brinkman, Office Operations Manager; Joanne Barnes, Director of Finance/HR; Nic Popoli, Warehouse Assistant; Brendan Burke, Associate Director of Supply Chain & Logistics; and Ben Quintal, Community Engagement Coordinator. They each play an important role in ONT’s mission to achieve food security in our region and we are so grateful to have them on the team! We’re still growing. If you’d like to join our team, visit ourneighborstable.org/jobopportunities.
ONT Ambassadors Hit the Streets
With safety guidelines in place, ONT is excited to be back out in the community hosting tables at our favorite events! Thanks to those who came to learn more about ONT at the Amesbury Block Party, the Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury Farmers’ Markets, Yankee Homecoming, and the Car Show! See you at the next event!
Local Leaders Deepen their Efforts
Through ONT’s Food Security Advisory Group, our local superintendents, mayors, councils on aging and health providers have made food access a priority across the region. This leadership helped mobilize every sector at the outset of COVID. This year, leaders are ensuring their teams are informed and
equipped to recognize and respond to food insecurity.
Your support of and participation in ONT’s mission is so much more than making sure your neighbor doesn’t go hungry over the holidays. ONT’s vision is for everyone in our community to be food secure all year long – that means everyone can know for certain that they will have 3 healthy meals a day, every day, always. And, together, we are making that happen.
We learned earlier this year, that the average family saves $300/month when they shop at ONT for groceries. Imagine what that $300 can mean to a family at Christmas time! Imagine what it means to a dad who can keep the heat on through the winter so his kids can sleep peacefully. Imagine what it means for a mom who has to pay for gas to get to work every day.
Today, I send my sincerest thanks to all of our community members who show up every day. To all who are packing groceries, stocking the freezer, driving our trucks, chopping onions, making phone calls or home deliveries, sending in a donation, sharing our tweets, and spreading the word – thank you! To all of you who see that, together, we are not just defending against hunger today, but building the hope and security for tomorrow – thank you and peace be with you.
ONT's Annual Breakfast Returns to Blue Ocean!
Food Drive Fun!
We were thrilled to have some of our traditional food drives back after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. It is so wondeful to see the community rallying to support ONT and our community partners. Last week's Scouting for Food (pictured right) brought in a record 5,000 pounds of food! Thanks to all of the Scouts for their hard work tagging and picking up the food and to all the households that donated.
Next up is the 6th annual Fill-A- Cruiser food drive at the Amesbury Stop & Shop on Saturday, November 20. Hosted by the Amesbury, Merrimac and Salisbury police departments, the officers will be collecting food donations from 8am - 2pm. The Georgetown Police Department will also be filing a cruiser at Crosby's in Georgetown from 8am - 3pm. Thanks in advance to all of the departments for their help and volunteerism!
Volunteer Spotlights - Bill Ginivan & Clarissa Taylor
ONT Community Champion Award winner Bill Ginivan has always been involved in community service. “It’s in my DNA,” he says, “My parents did it, so it’s always been part of my life.” When the Ginivans moved to Amesbury, they immediately started searching for volunteer opportunities. They settled on ONT after learning of its mission and reputation in the community. Bill has been a loyal ONT volunteer for 6 years at the Wednesday Meal. He has been a fixture in the kitchen and took pride in watching the guests enjoy the meal he had helped prepare. When the meal turned to takeout during the pandemic, Bill said that the Wednesday Meal team had to “get creative with the menu” so all the guests were able to bring a delicious meal home. Read more about Bill in the Volunteer Spotlight ››
Clarissa Taylor, one of ONT’s Community Champions, speaks about her introduction to ONT with amusement and fondness. “My friend Murray tricked me,” she starts with a smile, “Murray asked me if I wanted to be part of the Volunteer Appreciation Committee for one meeting and one event.” It turned into significantly more than one meeting and one event, but after 9 years of volunteering, she wouldn’t change it for the world. Clarissa has volunteered in almost every program area of ONT. She is currently using her friendly approach to take guest orders over the phone as an Office volunteer. She loves to take the time to chat with guests before taking their orders. Clarissa recalls her most memorable moment at ONT, “A guest was so glad that I called because I am usually the only phone call she gets each week.” Read more about Clarissa in the Volunteer Spotlight ››
News & Events
Thanksgiving grocery distribution wraps up on Tuesday, providing families with turkey and the fixings to celebrate with their loved ones in their homes. Christmas groceries will be available starting December 14. We'll be open extended days and hours for grocery pick-ups, so check our website for details. Folks new to ONT can register in advance to be able to shop for holiday groceries.
Thanksgiving Recipe from ONT's Heather Paterson
Heather is ONT's Meal Manager who prepares delicious takeout meals every Wednesday for our guests. Today she gives us a holiday stuffing recipe with a twist for your Thanksgiving table, which starts with a box of stuffing found in the grocery store or ONT's Market!
HOLIDAY STUFFING WITH A TWIST
PREP TIME: 10 Min.
COOK TIME: 15 Min. SERVES: 8
1-1/2 cups apple juice
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix - bought at the grocery
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup diced apple
1. Bring juice and butter to boil in medium saucepan on high heat.
2. Add stuffing mix and fruit; mix lightly. Cover and remove from heat.
3. Let stand 5 min. Fluff with fork.
CommUNITY: Stronger Together
Last fall, ONT secured $141,000 from the Massachusetts Food Security Infrastructure Grant on behalf of tour Seacoast Food Provider and Food Security Advisory Group partners. In the last months, our partners were able to install new refrigerators, pantry fixtures, and stoves to help them offer more fresh foods and keep up with need for services. The grant also provided food processing, refrigeration and grab-n-go cases for the Newburyport, Triton and Pentucket school districts. A new delivery van will be shared among all of the partners to help with the increased need for home deliveries.
"Because we had these partnerships before COVID, we had our systems in place so it was easy to just pivot our operations to keep food going out to our seniors."
- Doreen Arnfield, Executive Director, Amesbury Council on Aging, reflects on the value of participating in ONT's Food Security Advisory Group.
Keeping Summer Fun!
In just the first month of summer break, ONT provided more than 33,000 pounds of groceries to nearly 200 families through our Summer Lunch Program. Breakfasts, lunches, kid-friendly AND nutritious snacks available in our online market have already saved parents $100,000!
ONT was honored by the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce with the Nonprofit of the Year Award.
Impact January-June 2021
ONT's ONLINE MARKETS
2,165 households with 4,508 members
598,709 pounds of groceries 40% are fresh fruits and veggies!
400 takeout dinners each week
Are we meeting their food needs? 83% say YES!
Are we creating a safe and welcoming environment? 93% say we're doing an EXCELLENT job!
Are we saving them money? YES! 52% report saving up to $50/week; 30% save up to $100/week!
Do we provide the variety, quantity and healthy food our neighbors need and want? More than 95% grade us as EXCELLENT/GOOD!
Closing the SNAP Gap!
As a licensed SNAP Outreach Partner, ONT can process SNAP applications and recertifications right from our office. In 2021, we've already processed applications for 75 local households who will now have a monthly allowance to spend at local grocers and farms to purchase food for their families. We also celebrated our first SNAP Awareness Week in July.
Safeguards Through the Pandemic
ONT maintains ZERO COVID-19 infections among staff and volunteers. We will continue our diligence AND increase our people-power. We are now requiring all employees and volunteers to be fully-vaccinated. Some of our smaller programs will re-open by Fall, but our Amesbury and Newburyport Markets and Wednesday Meal will remain curbside. Updates publish regularly here.
Volunteer Spotlight, Jeanne Langis
In the last five years, as a direct result of opening the Jardis-Taylor Center, ONT has more than doubled the number of people it serves, has significantly increased the percent of fresh produce, meats and dairy going into every household, and has turned over the power and decision making to each guest to decide what food they bring home to feed their family. And, perhaps the most exciting milestone, we declared Amesbury our first food-secure city knowing that quality food is universally available and accessible to all residents, even – and especially – in a pandemic. What inspires me as we look ahead is to see that ONT’s Market model and focus on Service with Dignity is becoming a favored model across the country.
To all of you who had the courage to break the mold and help us shape this work five years ago, this success is yours. To all of you who have joined this mission since we’ve opened the JTC, thank you for keeping an open mind and daring to serve differently. And to all of you who serve as ambassadors of kindness and food security, we look forward to continuing to shape this work with you in the years to come.
Volunteer Spotlight - Bob Mazzone
Bob has been a devoted ONT volunteer since his retirement—helping in whatever way is needed from driving our trucks to unloading groceries at a mobile market to building custom pallets. Bob also served on the building committee for the Jardis-Taylor Center, helping ONT find its new home and using his innovative energy to create a safe and efficient new Warehouse that is essential to ONT’s grocery distribution. Read more about Bob in this month's Volunteer Spotlight ››
News & Events
You're invited to join us for "Creating Your Legacy with Our Neighbors' Table" on Monday, June 7 at 5:30pm via zoom. ONT has entered an exciting new chapter and you can now make your passion for food security a part of your legacy. On the 7th, you'll hear from panel members about why and how they chose to create a legacy with ONT. We're thrilled to have Charlene Dolan of Linden Financial Group join us as well. Register today to learn more or receive the recording!
Welcome to Mike Marshall, ONT's new Director of Supply Chain & Logstics! Mike joined us in January on staff but volunteered with ONT years ago when the Warehouse was in the root cellar at the Main Street Congregational Church. We've come a long way since then and we're excited to have Mike and his expertise leading our Warehouse team. He has loved getting to know our incredible volunteers and the ONT community. Please say hello to Mike next time you see him or send him a welcome email!
Be a lifeline for your neighbors! While the spring feels hopeful for so many reasons, many of our neighbors are still struggling. The economic effects of Covid-19 have left 10,000 neighbors in our region food insecure, nearly double pre-pandemic levels. ONT's programs and services provide a lifeline to the thousands of neighbors we are serving each month. And there are thousands more we need to reach with fresh, wholesome food. Can you help? Donate today or join the Breakfast Club to give all year long.
ONT's Summer Lunch Program Returns!
Our Neighbors’ Table’s Summer Lunch Program was designed to offer families additional breakfast and lunch foods to help feed kids who are home from school for the summer. It's estimated to cost an extra $300 to provide the meals a child would have received at school, which combined with camp or childcare costs can be overwhelming for so many families. The Summer Lunch Program provides a solution and has been helping ease parents' summer worries for over a decade. This year, there is no additional registration needed to participate in the Summer Lunch Program. Every ONT family with children in their household will automatically have extra breakfast, lunch and snack items to add to their grocery order each week starting in mid-June. Families in our region who aren't current guests can register with ONT anytime on our website or call 978-388-1907 to start shopping weekly.
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
ONT’s Wednesday Meal continues to be a vital lifeline for our neighbors in the takeout format. Over 15,000 meals were provided in 2020, an increase of 26% from the previous year. Although we cannot welcome sponsors to serve with us, Wednesday Meal sponsors are still needed to financially support this important program. Contact Lesley at email@example.com to book your meal sponsorship.
ONT is proud to announce that we are a certified Service Enterprise! A Service Enterprise is an organization that strategically leverages volunteers to achieve operational efficiency and greater social impact. Achieving certification means ONT is in the top 11% of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance. Read more about what this means to ONT ››
As we look at the year ahead, keeping the ONT community healthy remains our priority. ONT will continue to explore ways to engage the community safely. Have a suggestion? Let us know! And stay tuned for more information about virtual Town Halls and other initiatives.
Ward J Cromer Legacy Society
Volunteer Spotlight - Dave and Sam Lyman
ONT's volunteers are amazing and everyone knows it!
Since my last note to you in August, we’ve registered 303 new guests, including 74 children and 63 seniors, to our grocery programs. Every one of them have been welcomed without question, shop for their groceries online, and have been able to put 15,000 meals on their tables. Including turkeys and all the Thanksgiving fixings.
The holidays are a time for us to give thanks and celebrate with our loved ones. Holidays can also be a time of sorrow and loneliness, particularly this year. Over the last two months, we’ve been highlighting the Unity in our Community, and there’s no better time to keep this at the forefront of our minds than during the holidays. On social media, we’re sharing holiday traditions that we can share virtually or that remind us of our friends and family while we’re apart. I invite you to share yours with us! Simple things like a good ol’ fashion phone call, dropping off a side dish, or a handwritten card go a long way to let your neighbors know you care. If you’re inclined, you could even consider a virtual Friendsgiving or holiday party using ONT’s online virtual food drive page. Like everything else, the 2020 holidays will be different this year. But one thing remains – the strong commUNITY that bonds us.
Stay safe, be well, and spread joy,
Annual Breakfast Celebrates Unity in Community
News & Events
The holiday season is upon us! Thanksgiving groceries are being distributed through the 24th and Christmas groceries will be distributed December 15 - 22. Our Wednesday Meal looks different this year, but Santa may still make a safe surprise appearance! Click here for all the details, important dates and holiday closures information.
Thank you to Newburyport's Functional Coatings for surprising ONT with a $50,000 donation last month! The company recognized the critical need in the community and wanted to offer meaningful support to their neighbors. Thank you for thinking of ONT to make an incredible impact! You are an example of Unity in Community.
Help ONT spread the spirit of community this holiday season! Write a holiday greeting to a neighbor and we will include it with their holiday groceries in December. Our hope is to have a neighbor's holiday wish shared with each of the over 1,000 households we will serve in December. Let's celebrate the season by uniting togther!
Volunteer Spotlight - Kathy Berman
Lyndsey Haight, Executive Director
While COVID-19 has not directly affected the physical health of most residents in our region, the economic and emotional toll has been astounding. The average unemployment rate for our 12 cities and towns over April, May and June 2020 tops 14%, compared to 2.45% one year ago. Even at the height of the recession, local unemployment average for the region in 2010 was only 7.5%.
Families who were gainfully employed only 6 months ago now rely on stimulus checks, SNAP and programs like Our Neighbors’ Table. With your support, ONT has been able to meet the need head-on and has proudly supported our partners in school districts and councils on aging across the region in working creatively and collaboratively to get food to people every day. From January 1 to July 31, ONT’s grocery programs distributed 845,000 pounds of wholesome foods to 4214 people across the region (up 11% and 24% respectively over last year).
How can we keep up with this increase of demand? Because our community is committed to ensuring everyone’s basic needs are met, even in a global crisis. You are each proving the “Unity” in Community. In just the first 90 days following the shutdown, more than 900 new donors reached out to support ONT’s work. Collectively, as local businesses were struggling, individuals in every community stepped forward and contributed a record $300,000 to keep food on the table for ONT’s guests.
“Uncertainty” seems to be the guiding principle for the near future. But there are 2 things I know for certain: 1) As this crisis continues, need for food assistance will continue to increase; and 2) ONT and its supporters will be here to respond. September is Hunger Action Month. I ask you to continue your resolve, reach out to friends and neighbors who need help, support our efforts by raising awareness, hosting virtual food drives, and, when you can, making a donation. We will continue to win this fight as we work in unity to keep our neighbors food-secure.
September is Hunger Action Month!
- Join ONT’s email list
- Follow ONT on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
- Watch a Hunger Action Month Facebook live
- Register for virtual Volunteer Orientation by filling out a Volunteer Application
- Purchase a ticket to the Annual Breakfast broadcast
- Make a donation
- Become a Breakfast Club member with a recurring donation
Join us for the Annual Breakfast Broadcast!
Summer Lunch Program
For the last 10 years, ONT has worked to ensure that our region’s families continue to have access to nutritious foods even when school breaks for the summer. Never has the reliance on school meals been more apparent than it has been this year in the wake of COVID-19. Through June, all of the school districts in our area worked creatively to keep meals available to school children. But then what? ONT’s Summer Lunch Program continues to provide great breakfast, lunch and snack groceries to keep families’ kitchens stocked. To-date, ONT has already put more than 256,000 meals on the table for 1,062 children, including almost 46,000 meals just since July 1. Families are shopping through our online markets each week, picking out fresh fruits, cereal, snacks, and fixings for sandwiches. ONT is on track to save these families a total of $150,000 in food costs this summer!
First-Time Guest Quote
"We never imagined we would be in a position to need your help. My husband got laid off [shortly before COVID with no severance]. We have yet to receive an unemployment check. [All of his] interviews [were put on hold indefinitely] the week this craziness hit. We are finding paying our mortgage and COBRA at the same time is killing us. When we were told you could help it was like a gift from God. I have always admired your organization. I admire it on a whole new level now. Thank you for all you do, and continue to do, to help us and all in the communities you serve, especially during this crazy time. We are truly looking at this as the beginning of a relationship with ONT that we will pay back when we are able."
--ONT First-time Guest
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Volunteer Spotlight - Eve Lee
As I write, our world continues to change, affecting each of us differently. Right now is really hard, for so many, for so many different reasons. But it has been a call to action for many. From whichever chair you may be reading, I’d like to use this Table Talk to give you a moment of gratitude, hopefulness, and positivity. No matter what is happening in the world, I am grateful to spend every day here at ONT with the best of humanity. ONT’s spirit is still very present, no matter what our Market or Meal might physically look like. Volunteers and guests exchange warm smiles through the windshield, over the rims of their masks; friendly conversation rings through the phones; and online ordering gives a sliver of dignity and choice in a seemingly oppressive time.
In the last 5 years, we’ve been working to raise awareness of food insecurity. Together, we’ve invested in increasing food access, reducing the shame and stigma in seeking help, and ensuring that whether you are a single elder, or a young family getting on their feet, you never had to worry about your next meal. There is no greater test of our impact than a global public health and economic crisis. So how have we done?
Schools/A+ - Every one of the school districts mobilized to distribute free breakfast and lunch to all of their students within a week of closing.
Seniors/A+ – Councils on Aging, housing authorities and elder services kept meals on wheels and grocery delivery constant, even expanding as needed.
Leadership: A+ – Mayors, town managers and social service directors put food access at the top of their planning lists on day 1.
Community – A+ – YOU have reached out to offer your time, make donations, pick up an order for your neighbor, create apps so people could find food. When it mattered most, our community has rallied to keep food on every table.
Thurgood Marshall said “The measure of a country’s greatness is it’s ability to retain compassion in crisis.” Our commitment to take care of each other in good times has made it possible for our compassion to translate into food security even in this crisis. We continue to serve those who were already struggling, and, without hesitation, have opened our programs to hundreds more who are scraping by. Please, continue to beat this drum, letting your neighbors know we are here for them. We are here for you.
And for those of you who have so generously given what you can to this mission, including the more than 700 people who gave to ONT for the very first time, thank you. This crisis will eventually end. Our new reality is still yet to be defined. Our 2019 Annual Report highlights some of our finest moments pre-COVID; let’s commit to making them the hallmark of our future.
Be safe, be well, be kind.
Coronavirus Impact by the Numbers
ONT's 2019 Annual Report now available!
2019 seems like a long time ago, but it was the community's commitment to food security and ONT last year that equipped us to respond in 2020. Together, we have much to be proud of. Read our 2019 Annual Report ››
ONT Program Update
As things are gradually re-opening in Massachusetts, ONT will continue to operate in a curbside pick-up model for our grocery programs and takeout for our meal for the foreseeable future. The health and safety of our guests and volunteers remain our top priority and we are committed to following public health protocols. At the recommendation of our local public health departments, we will continue to not accept food donations from the public at this time.
Volunteer Spotlight - Heather McPeake
News & Updates
The 2020 Fighting Hunger Grill Master's Challenge & Brew Party (originally scheduled for June 7 at Brewery Silvaticus) has been postponed, as well as the accompanying Ultimate Sports Raffle. We hope to reschedule when it is safe to do so.
Board of Directors Update
ONT elects its 2020 Officers: Eve Lee, Board Chair; Doug Moran, Vice Chair; Mandy Mladenoff, Secretary; Jim Brown, Treasurer. If you see Eve (pictured below left) volunteering in the Market on a Saturday, please be sure to say hello!
You can help stock ONT's Market safely from home by hosting a virtual food drive! Instead of collecting items in person, you'll collect financial donations that ONT will use to provide guests with fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and toiletries.