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!
ONT Program Update
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 ››
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 until Phase 3.
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.