Thank you for making food security a priority in 2019, for elevating food insecurity as a real issue in our community and for putting the investments in to address this fixable problem. Thank you for making it possible for us to serve more than 4,500 of your neighbors, providing them with fresh, wholesome foods when and where they need it. The year ahead holds ambitious goals to spread food security across our region and I hope you’ll stick with us.
The USDA defines Food Security as consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle. Our work, to-date, has been laser-focused on:
1. Enough food. ONT’s approach leaves behind the traditional food pantry model and replaces it with the traditional grocery store model – you come in weekly, you pick out the foods you like to and can eat, and you get as much of it as you need to feed your family. In 2019, ONT distributed 1.38 million pounds of food, two-thirds of which were high quality produce, meats, fish, and dairy.
2. Food to support a healthy lifestyle. Walk into any ONT market and you will immediately notice that fresh fruits and vegetables take center-stage. Guests shopping in our markets have long told us that they want to eat more fresh foods, but they simply can’t afford it. ONT is proud to partner with more than 2 dozen local growers and community gardens to bring fresh produce to our markets. Our partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank and local food rescue partners have ensured that every shopper has year-round access to these foods. Foods they need and want to live an active, healthy lifestyle.
Now, 2020 will be the year we focus on tying it all together with the most important factor that separates temporary relief of hunger from true food security: Consistency.
Access to food today means you’re not hungry now. Reliable, consistent access to enough, quality food every day means you are food secure. From expanding our community markets, to providing tools to our pediatricians and educators to connect people to food, to shuttles from the Salisbury and Groveland Councils on Aging to the Amesbury market, we’re breaking down barriers so people can have access to food every day.
As we work together toward the goal of a food secure region, can you help us build consistency? This year, we are seeking to build our Breakfast Club, those giving across 12-months a year, ensuring our resources are ready and available whenever our neighbors need us. Last year, the Breakfast Club grew to nearly 100 members. Our goal this year is to get to at least 150. Is this the year you can build food security into your everyday life?
We’re ready to make the promise of food security. As I personally celebrate a decade here at ONT, I’m looking forward to the possibilities our future holds.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and food secure 2020,
Get your kids involved with ONT's mission!
Did you know you can volunteer at the ONT Market with your children? ONT’s WEE Can Help! program provides a wonderful opportunity for children ages 4-10 to come in for a Market Stocking shift! WEE Can Help! volunteers perform the important task of restocking our shelves after the Market has closed on Wednesdays from 4-5pm. This is a great chance for parents to teach their children about giving back to their community in a kid-friendly space. Find out more information here!
If you’re looking for an opportunity that is suitable for both individuals and groups, consider Fill ‘Em Up Bags! The goal for each person participating in Fill ‘Em Up Bags is to raise $30, which provides dinner to a child for a whole month! Each participant decorates their Fill ‘Em Up Bag, then ask friends and family to help fill the bag. Learn more about how your child can make a difference!
If you have any questions about family opportunities, please email Melanie or call her (978) 388-1907 x21.
Volunteer Spotlight - Rose Cole
Meet Rose Cole, a volunteer who wears many different hats at Our Neighbors’ Table. Rose heard about Our Neighbors’ Table through word of mouth, and first got involved in 2015 when ONT was headquartered out of the Main Street Congregational Church. Now, Rose volunteers every Thursday at the Newburyport Market, as well as every Friday doing check-in for the Amesbury Market, and Rose serves on the Volunteer Appreciation Committee. Rose says one of her favorite things about ONT is the camaraderie among volunteers, “When there’s a volunteer who has something going on in their life-- others help out. It feels really good to be a part of that.”
Rose was key in helping to start ONT’s Newburyport Market in 2018. ONT’s Mobile Market Manager Tracy Kane says, “It took a lot to get the Newburyport Market off the ground, and more importantly to show new guests coming to it that they were welcomed and safe. Rose was extremely helpful and patient while we got all that going, helping to demonstrate ONT’s core values.” Read more about Rose in this month's Volunteer Spotlight!
News & Events
Save the Dates! Planning your 2020 calendar? Be sure to pencil in these ONT events so you don't miss them!