During this season of giving, it seems appropriate for all of us at the food pantry to give thanks to our Wakefield community. We deeply appreciate the support, love, caring and compassion that you give to your neighbors in need, not just during the holidays but all year ‘round.
As an organization run by ever dedicated volunteers and Board leadership, we continually try to think of ways to inspire our community and be more effective and efficient in serving our clients without losing our focus on ensuring their privacy, dignity and confidentiality. We work toward building strong partnerships with local businesses while cultivating our great relationships with the Wakefield schools, including athletic, music, drama, student leadership organizations and many more. We thank our network of Boy and Girl Scouts, religious groups, and the many individuals and families who never fail to donate time, money and food.
Food insecurity remains a serious concern nationally and right here in Wakefield. Our clients are seniors, families with children, individuals, the unemployed and the employed who just can’t make ends meet. They are retirees on a fixed income and people with disabilities. They are your neighbors. Some might be friends. But they all need a helping hand and we are honored to be able to offer that hand.
During our last year, the pantry was able to serve 572 clients as we gave out nearly 241,000 pounds of food. As a result of expert buying at the Greater Boston Food Bank, we were able to increase the amount of food we gave out by 24%. Plus, we expanded our operating hours by adding a Tuesday evening shift. None of this is possible without the help of so many people in Wakefield. We thank each every one of you who have been able to provide food and financial donations; those who have sponsored food drives; and, those who have participated in our Holiday Basket, Kids First and Senior Supplies programs. And, we offer thanks to our local newspapers and media for spreading the word!
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two very special ladies, Dottie Fair and Mary Eustace. Both hold the title, Volunteer of the Year, for their outstanding contributions and dedication to the food pantry and our clients. Among many other activities she performs, Dottie is a key member of our Monday stocking team that handles thousands of pounds of food we bring in each week. Mary has also stepped in to help us in many ways. In addition to working with the Monday stocking crew, Mary took over our Senior Program which provides food to seniors and the disabled at Harts Hill and Crystal View. If that wasn’t enough, she is now managing our new Tuesday night shift. Many thanks to Dottie and Mary along with all of our incredible volunteers!
I’ll leave you with this thought: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” -Albert Schweitzer
Thank you Wakefield for giving us the spark to light the flame of gratitude. Best wishes for a joyful holiday season!
Maureen Miller, Director of Operations, Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry