This is the first of what I hope will become a regular feature in your inbox – an email to keep you informed about what is going on at the Pantry. Since it is addressed to both past and present volunteers, let me apologize in advance if what I have to say is mostly old news for anyone who has been at the Pantry recently. I thought I’d start out with one email to everyone before putting my Sorting Hat on and dividing you up. Or perhaps I’ll just continue like this...
Wait, no-one hit that Unsubscribe button just yet! I may be indecisive, but at least I’m going to keep these short, I promise.
The main purpose of this message is just to introduce myself and say hello, especially for folks who I have not yet met in person. My name is Peter Kent and I am the new President of the Pantry. As most of you will know, my predecessor Debbie Landzberg decided to step down late last year. Debbie led the Pantry wonderfully through some pretty dramatic changes, not least the total renovation of our building in 2019 and Daily Bread’s response to the awful pandemic that has been visited upon us. She is truly a tough act to follow, so I will not make my task more difficult by loading more praise onto her, no matter how deserving.
What I will say is that the leadership of the Pantry is essentially irrelevant when placed beside the efforts of each and every volunteer. Especially in the last year, I have witnessed so many times when a single volunteer took the initiative to adapt our former practices in response to the challenges presented by the pandemic. Many volunteers have been regularly working outside - sometimes in terrible weather conditions - and did what needed to be done with remarkably good humor. Last, and while we have done our very best to create a safe environment in which to work, it would be foolhardy to claim that the work was free of risk. These days, it seems everyone is a hero for one reason or another, so I’m not going to use that term here. I hope you will forgive me for thinking it though.
Nor do I want to forget the many volunteers who, for compelling reasons, had to step back from the front line. The Pantry could only continue to operate because of what had already been built by these long-serving members of the team. I look forward to the day when all our volunteers can return and we can be together again.
In future emails, I will be answering some commonly-asked questions about Pantry operations, giving you some facts and figures, and perhaps even throwing in some gossip! More importantly, I invite all of you to get in touch with any ideas to help further our mission. In the meantime, let me leave you with the following chart, which graphically demonstrates the challenges we faced in 2020. I am proud to say that, despite the seismic events of March and beyond, we did not miss a single distribution day.