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Expressing Our Deepest Gratitude For Our Wakefield Community

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving is a time for giving and reflection. It’s a time to remember our blessings and give thanks for all that we have as we plan for how we can make an even greater, positive difference in the lives of others. At the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry, we are deeply grateful to the Wakefield community for its ever steadfast support and willingness to “live by” a belief that that sometimes a helping hand is all you need to get back on your feet. The people of Wakefield don’t just utter words of support; they do something about it.
2011 has been quite a challenging year for the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry and certainly for many individuals and families who are hard pressed to put food on the table. According to the Greater Boston Food Bank, forty-seven percent of people in eastern Massachusetts who are at risk of going hungry earn too much to qualify for government assistance. With the economy still struggling and too many people unemployed or underemployed, it is getting harder and harder to make ends meet across the state and here in our own town. This year alone the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry moved over 170,000 pounds (or 85.5 tons) of food in and out the door to serve our neighbors in need. We currently provide food to approximately 225 families. These families visited the food pantry a total of 4,182 times in 2011 for an average of 349 visits per month. Sadly, this number is growing.
Thankfully, the silver lining includes the generous people of Wakefield, our incredible network of supporting organizations and companies, and our big hearted, dedicated food pantry volunteers and leadership team. This year marked the first full year in our new location at the Americal Civic Center on Main Street in Wakefield. This larger space has given us a greater ability to store more food, offer more flexible hours, access more food from the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) and offer perishable food items. With this expansion, we have had to overcome new challenges, especially in growing our volunteer base to include people who have the physical strength to move so much food and who can assist us in collecting food from the GBFB, transporting it to the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry, and stocking the shelves. Luckily, we have generous, caring people who are coming forward to get the job done including the wonderful employees from Keurig.
2011 also marked a year in which the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry stepped up communications and social media networking through our local newspapers which are so amenable to publishing our news and announcements as well as through our new page on Facebook. In addition, we have just completed a redesign of our website, www.wifoodpantry.org, which will allow people to subscribe to our news blog and volunteer opportunities. I encourage everyone to check it out and become part of our “e-community”.
With the holiday season upon us, I want to once again thank everyone – all the students, the scouts, the individuals, the community organizations, the houses of worship, the companies, and the families – who make the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry a part of their giving efforts. We are grateful for any and all non-perishable food items and financial donations as we serve our neighbors in need. Last but not least, I want to express my personal appreciation for our compassionate, dedicated group of 40 regular volunteers, the leadership of our Board of Directors, and the added insight and resources of our Advisory Group. Best wishes to all for a wonderful Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season! ~Maureen Miller, Director of Operations, Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry read more