This year's Annual Breakfast drew 300 community members, our largest crowd to date! It was an inspiring and energizing morning for all in attendance as we saw the power of neighbors helping neighbors, and how support yesterday and today can create a brighter future. The actions of volunteers, donors and community partners are "Feeding the Future" and changing lives for years to come.
We were honored to have Joshua Frappier and Jill Weiss Hrubes share their personal experiences with ONT with the audience. Josh came to ONT with his family as a kid, and then came to depend on the Wednesday Meal when he was living on his own as teenager. Jill started volunteering with ONT in the early years, but after a divorce found herself needing ONT’s services to feed her 3 boys as a single mom. It was powerful to hear how the nourishing food and kindness Jill and Josh received from ONT during a tough time in their lives propelled them forward. Jill put herself through school and her boys are now in college or have graduated from college. Josh is now the CEO of the Frappier Group and served 2 tours with the Marines overseas. The support from ONT fed their futures and changed their lives.
Dr. Lars Lundgren, CEO of Children’s Health Care, also participated on our panel to share ONT’s new partnership with the practice to screen for food insecurity in children. In an especially moving moment of the morning, Jill explained how she would have been hesitant to share the family’s struggles with food insecurity with her kids’ pediatrician for fear of losing her children. Children’s Health Care is committed to connecting their patients and their families with the necessary resources, including food. Thanks to Dr. Lundgren and his team for turning this model of care on its head.
Another highlight of the morning was honoring our 2019 Community Champions. Jonathan Burke was honored as our Individual Champion for advocating for our mission and setting an honorable example for our future community leaders. Jonathan started volunteering with ONT’s Wednesday Meal for high school community service when he was 15. Now 24, Jonathan has rarely missed a Wednesday helping in the kitchen. US Foods was honored as our Corporate Champion for their in-kind support of ONT as a food rescue partner. US Foods has donated almost 1 million pounds of food in the last 2 years, quality food that enhances our Market and Meal programs. It would have been easier to throw that surplus food in the dumpster, but US Foods is committed to donating it back to the community and onto the tables of our neighbors.
Special thanks to Dana Marshall of 92.5 the River for serving as our emcee and panel host. Thank you to all who attended, sponsored and donated to feed the future. After the Breakfast, a first-time attendee captured it perfectly. "When you engage a community using authenticity and an undeniably deep,human connection, you create powerful opportunities to change lives in the most extraordinary ways...this morning was a clear validation that the ONT mission is being carried out one person at a time."