|Relieving hunger. Nourishing lives.
Think about the number of times a month you go to the grocery store.
What if you were allowed to shop for food only once a month?
Imagine some of the challenges:
- The physical burden of lugging home enough food for a month
- The notion of planning an entire month's worth of meals
- The worry that you won't have enough food to last 30 days
- The fear you will run out of an essential item like toilet paper
you had to walk home with your groceries, or rely on public transportation or a friend. And you are worried that
your family would go hungry before your next monthly shopping trip.
Since even before I came to the Pantry 6 years ago, our
practice has been to limit our clients to one full shopping trip per month. Even though they can come every day for bread and produce, they have only monthly access to critical items such as chicken and beef, eggs, milk, cheese, toilet paper, laundry detergent and personal care items.
As clients revealed their families did not have enough to eat; as they told us they could not afford to pay for basic needs like rent, medicine and utilities; and as they struggled with having too much to carry on these once-per-month shopping visits, we realized we needed to do more to impact their level of hunger. And, we had the capacity to help.
, we launched
"Walk-in Fridays," to ensure that our clients have access to enough nutritious food
and personal essentials for the
No appointment necessary.
Clients can now make more frequent trips, taking only what they need and what they are able to carry. If they run out of something, or forget an essential item, they know they can come back in a week to pick it up. Here's what some of our clients are saying:
"It is a huge blessing. It helps so much to be able to have more ability to put gas in [the] car and buy any other items my children and I need."
"Thank you so much for providing this food. It makes an amazing difference. We are able to have food throughout [the] whole month. End of months were very hard."
"Having only one good arm, [I] don't have to carry so much once a month. Much more convenient."
We are working towards ending hunger in our community one day at a time, one Friday at a time.
Walk-in Fridays were made possible because of the donations of our many retail partners and the generosity of our community.
We, and our clients, are truly grateful.
What a difference a day makes.
Carts for Clients - The Hockomock Area YMCA has awarded a grant to the Pantry to purchase ten portable shopping carts for clients who need a little extra help in transporting their groceries.
Carrying many bags of groceries is a problem for our clients who are disabled or elderly, and for those who walk to the Pantry because they have no transportation. The grant was made possible through funding that the YMCA received from the Stop & Shop Our Family Foundation. Clients who are awarded the shopping carts will keep them for their own use to
ease the burden in bringing food into their home.
Backpacks for Kids
- When schools close their doors on Friday afternoons, some children go home to empty cupboards, especially those who depend on the federal free and reduced-meal program their school offers. With no access to the school-provided breakfast and lunch on weekends, these kids are at risk for hunger. The Pantry is working with Parmenter Elementary School to provide food on the weekends for children who might otherwise go hungry. Through a grant from the Hockomock Area YMCA, Parmenter gives backpacks to 25 children in need on each Friday. By utilizing our partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank, we are able to supply food for the backpacks.
The pilot program at Parmenter has been very well-received, and we look forward to working with parents and administrators to expand the program to other schools as needed.
This collaborative community effort helps ensure more kids will be less hungry on the weekends.
Annual Empty Bowls Dinner Tickets on Sale
"Soup-kitchen" Event Helps Fight Hunger
The Pantry is partnering with the Franklin High School Empty Bo
in the 3rd Annual Empty Bowls Dinner on May 1, from 6 - 8 p.m. at Franklin High School to help the nearly 1,000 individuals seeking food assistance from the Pantry.
The dinner event, which features a simple meal of soup and bread served "soup-kitchen" style, will set the stage for community members to learn more about the true effects of hunger. Erin Lynch, Pantry executive director, will present
"Hunger in Franklin," highlighting the impact of hunger on struggling local families. Lynch's talk will be at 6:45 p.m., but the open house format welcomes attendees any time between 6 - 8 p.m.
Be an Empty Bowls Dinner Sponsor
Have a seat at the table to end hunger
The Pantry is offering businesses and groups an opportunity to sponsor the event. A variety of giving options allow companies to support the Pantry in a more substantial way while being recognized for their generosity.
Food Elves: A Spirit of Giving to Last All Year
Julia Buccella and Natalie Dextradeur, co-lead Food Elves, rallied more than 130 area youth to raise funds in the most successful drive in the 12-year history of the Food Elves. Photo courtesy of Patti Dextradeur
"One of the important things to be aware of is that the Food Pantry is needed all year long, not just in the winter; I think that was something significant that was taught to us: that we are not just helping some of the time, but all of the time."
- Natalie Dextradeur, Co-lead Food Elf
When the Franklin Food Elves switched up their annual campaign to a fund only drive last December, they were thrilled with the results. This group of youth volunteers raised more than $23,000 for the Pantry, making it the most successful drive in the 12-year history of the Food Elves.
"We see a steep decline in donations after the season of giving is over," says Erin Lynch, Pantry Executive Director. "The money raised by the Food Elves helps us purchase food during these lean months, including fresh items like chicken, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables. Many people are accustomed to giving food, but donors embraced the shift to monetary donations and really came through for the Pantry, and the nearly 1,000 people we serve."
"We are grateful to all of the neighbors, friends and family members who supported the Food Elves. And many thanks to these amazing young people for their spirit and hard work on behalf of the Pantry. You are truly making a difference."
If you or someone you know would like to join this worthwhile organization, you can complete this
Food Elves Sign-up Form
and someone will contact you in the fall when preparations begin for the 2018 Campaign.
Q & A with Jim Roche
Treasurer, Board of Directors
Jim has served on the Pantry's Board since June 2012. In April 2013, he was elected Treasurer. A licensed C.P.A. in Massachusetts, Jim serves as Principal of Robust Alternatives, a consulting practice that helps business owners understand the financial and operational aspects of their companies. Jim volunteers his time, talents and expertise to further the mission of the Pantry. We are very grateful to him for his long-standing dedication which continues to inspire us!
Q. What motivates you to want to help out?
The impact of the mission. Until I looked at hunger from inside the Pantry walls, I did not realize the impact. That kids are not learning because they are not properly fueled. I watched a grandfather refuse a special trinket one day because the limit was one and he had three grandchildren. I am floored by how much clients appreciate having access to cooking oils, something I always took for granted. I am humbled every year when I help give out turkeys to families so they can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. So many stories that just break my heart.
Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Pantry?
A. Space. We need more space. There is so much more we could be doing to meet the need in our community if we had the right amount of space.
Q. What do you feel is the single, most important thing our community should know about the Franklin Food Pantry?
That we are an extremely efficient charity, and that most of the money spent supports programs and services. We consistently spend between 85 and 95 percent of our budget on direct client services. A small percentage is spent on salaries and overhead.
Q. What are some ways that our community can help the Pantry serve our neighbors in need?
Get involved. If you don't have the money, give time. If you don't have the time, give money. And if you can give money, please do it during our low donation cycle, outside of the giving season during the holidays. Families count on the Pantry all year long.
Q. How do you assist the Pantry in your role as Treasurer?
I help with all of the financial aspects of the Pantry, including oversight, budgeting and reporting. I help the board and staff understand the finances as simply as possible to help them in their respective roles. I also have a responsibility to ensure the Pantry's dollars are spent wisely and in support of its mission.
Q. When you are not working, or helping the Pantry, what do you do for fun?
A. In addition to enjoying family time with my wife and three kids, I am a martial artist, enjoy competitive long-distance running and reading. I am training now for a marathon this summer that (I hope) will qualify me for the Boston Marathon in 2019.
(Good luck, Jim! And thank you for your service to the Pantry!)
Get Ready to Party for the Pantry!
he 3rd Annual Party for the Pantry is set for April 28! Join us from 7 p.m. to midnight at The Black Box for a rockin' evening in support of the Pantry. The event features 3 live acts (Charity Case, Karate Show and South Street Six), raffles and a silent auction. Last year tickets sold out well in advance, so be sure to follow the event page on Facebook so you'll be notified when tickets go on sale. A special thanks to event organizers Bill Donovan and Ray Auger!
See you there!
We Dig Brian Poirier Home Improvement!
A big thank you to Brian Poirier and his team for digging us out of the snow this winter - again, and again, and again! Our clients were able to access food at the Pantry in spite of all that snow. After every snow storm, Brian made sure our walkways were cleared and safe prior to clients arriving at the pantry to shop. Thank you for taking such great care of us!
The Franklin Food Pantry is appealing to the community for some very specific items in this year's
Stamp Out Hunger
. On Saturday, May 12, Franklin letter carriers will pick up donated goods from town residents at their mailboxes and deliver them to the Pantry. We do not need green
beans, black beans, chicken soup and tomato soup because we have an excess inventory of these items. We are asking for residents to please consider donating the items most needed. If you prefer to make a monetary donation in support of Stamp Out Hunger, you can make an online donation here. Thank you for your support!
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