November & December, 2022

Another Record Year

2022 has been another quite astonishing year at the Pantry. Not just in terms of guests served and food distributed, but by almost every other measure too. In this issue, we'll take a closer look at some of those measures. Then we'll find out who is our Volunteer of the Year, which you know is the only reason you opened this in the first place.

2021 - 2022 Guest Visits

If it feels like we have been riding a never-ending escalator of increasing guest numbers, the data certainly bears that out. This chart shows the number of guest visits by month over the last two years. In 2021, itself a record year, we received a total of 17,062 visits. In 2022 (using a guesstimate for the final distribution), it will be 22,673. A 33% increase! Truly staggering numbers, and a testament to the fact that the cost-of-living crisis has hit the communities we serve even harder than the COVID-19 pandemic.

...And A Few More Data Points

189 individuals volunteered at the Pantry in 2022. Some worked only a handful of hours. Others pretty much never left the place. And those 11,979 hours don't include the countless hours spent by many volunteers doing essential work away from the Pantry.

1,020,000 pounds to be precise - or 510 tons. Though getting too precise is a bit misleading, since the number is based on the assumption each guest receives 45 pounds of food. This may be a little high, but does correlate quite well with the known weight of incoming food.

Unlike the guest visit chart, this statistic focuses on the number of different guests and families we served (this number is often referred to as "unique" guests and families). Since the percentage increase in unique families served is less than the increase in total visits, we know that some guests are visiting more frequently.

The big jump here is because of the introduction of "Senior Shopping" distributions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and, more recently, our home delivery program. These programs do not have a massive effect on total guest visits, but they are a valuable extension of the services we offer.

2022 Guest Visit Frequency

As noted already, the 33% increase in total visits was in part driven by an increase in the average number of times each guest visited the Pantry. That said, the vast majority of guests come to distributions quite infrequently - suggesting the Pantry most often acts as a backstop resource when times are especially rough. (Numbers are rounded, so do not add up to 100%).

Social Media

Facebook  Instagram

We really upped our social media game this year, with far more posts than ever before. Sure, not everyone does the Facebook or Instagram thing, but they are essential tools to acknowledge donors, recognize volunteers, and even communicate with our guests. Also for a quick smile or even a chuckle.

Here's the post with the most likes in 2022. Hard to know whether it was Uncle Leo, Marybeth, or just the donuts that got people's attention.

Food Drives

We don't specifically keep track of all the food drive donations we receive each year (perhaps something to change for 2023). But in the last two months, we have received what feels like a record number. Far too many to list here, so we'll just mention two. The winner of the most innovative drive was a "cereal domino" event organized by Rockwell Elementary School. Not only was it a lot of fun, but we got 484 boxes of name-brand cereal out of the deal. Check out the video - and make sure you've got your sound on!

Predictably, the winner of the largest community food drive was the Aunt Hack neighborhood. For the third year in a row, they needed to rent a UHaul truck to bring it over. Special thanks to Kristen Schretzenmayer and family for leading the organizational charge (pictured here with Kristen is her Dad, Saverio Bruno, and neighbor Eric Lebowitz).

One more thing before we leave food drives, and in-kind donations more generally. It is always tempting to focus exclusively on spectacularly large donations, or the unusual, or the new. And that comes at the expense of overlooking donations that arrive week after week, month after month. Often these come from Houses of Worship, and as we wrap up 2022, I'd like to give a special mention to everyone at Prince of Peace Lutheran, St Gregory the Great, and Roxbury Congregational for their consistent and generous support throughout the year. In future issues, we'll be sure to call out many others.


You guessed it, our 2022 Thanksgiving distribution was a record. 535 guests served - a 20% increase over 2021 (446 guests served). Special mention this time goes to D&S Pump and Supply and Gould's Pumps for "topping off" our stash of turkeys with an additional one hundred birds. Oh, and I guess we should mention that none of this would have been possible without the 50 or so volunteers who worked their you-know-what's off to make it all happen on the day. Too bad not all could be cajoled into a picture with a stupid hat.

And now, the envelope please...

Yes, it's you! Just that you are a winner, not the winner. It was our collective efforts, not those of any one individual, that made the amazing achievements described above possible. Even those reading who did not volunteer in 2022, but have contributed in the past, should rightfully share in the credit. You created the foundations on which we continue to build, and are forever part of the Daily Bread story.

Fine words butter no parsnips, you might say, but hold on! Even as a Volunteer of the Year, you will receive a limited edition Daily Bread mug as a thank you. Well, you will receive the thing if you buy it from the new Daily Bread Merch Store. We aren't made of money, after all.

The Merch Store

Santa didn't bring exactly what you wanted? We've got you covered! Not quite Amazon, yet, but we have to start somewhere. Click on either picture to browse - and feel free to suggest additional products.

Side 1

Side 2

Finally, a personal thank you

Yep, the Volunteer of the Year thing was perhaps a bit of shameless click-baiting. But that in no way should undermine the sincerity of the sentiment. Daily Bread is not a building, nor our somewhat battered equipment, or even the systems that captured much of the data included above. Daily Bread IS its volunteers, and there is no finer set of human beings on the planet. Or at least in the Greater Danbury area. My deepest thanks to the lot of you. And Happy New Year!

Peter Kent

December 27, 2022

203-826-8252 | |

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