We are so grateful to everyone who was able to donate food or money for our first food drive on Saturday, May 7 at the Giant Food in the Village of River Hill. Thank you to the generosity of our Food Warriors, we were able to collect over 126 pounds of gluten free and allergy friendly food for the Howard County Food Bank.
The food drive kicks off our new partnership with the Howard County Food Bank, a program of the Community Action Council of Howard County. With the assistance of Advisory Council member, Maureen Burke, owner of One Dish Cuisine, we will be working with them to provide safe food options for our neighbors in need.
Speaking of One Dish Cuisine, they will be serving as a permanent collection point for gluten free and allergy friendly food. Look for the clear, plastic bin by the front door of their business. You can drop off food donations during One Dish Cuisine's business hours. Financial contributions to the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry can be made on our website.
We have a lot of exciting events coming up in June. Visit our Calendar of Events for more information. We will be announcing another food drive soon.
When this organization was in the planning stages, I started to realize the importance of an effective team to go from vision to reality. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have met an amazing group of people who are part of our Board of Directors and Advisory Council. On this Volunteer Appreciation Week, I would like to introduce you to our volunteer team.
The first person outside of my family who believed in the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry was Maureen from One Dish Cuisine. Her enthusiasm for the mission propelled me into starting the organization. Although she is incredibly busy with the café and unable to serve on the Board of Directors, she is a valuable member of our Advisory Council guiding us as we work toward opening our first physical location.
Maureen introduced to me to June, who serves as our Board Secretary. June is dedicated to our mission and worked with me to build our Board of Directors. She is my rock, and I greatly appreciate her sage advice.
Then, June introduced me to Melissa, who serves as our Board Treasurer. Melissa is not afraid of a challenge as she has tackled our nonprofit accounting and bookkeeping. She is currently on leave from the organization due to the birth of her first child.
Soon after Melissa, Margo joined the Board of Directors. Margo has contagious enthusiasm and passion for our mission. She is the chairperson for our first Food Drive, which will occur in early May.
Libby was the next to join the team as a Director. Libby is super creative and has a lot of great ideas. She was chairperson for our first #GivingTuesday campaign in December and is serving as chairperson for our presence at the Community Health Fair in June.
In January we added two additional people, Sandra and Michael, to the Board making us the “Super Seven.” Sandra has an unbelievable number of community connections and a strong passion for serving the community. She is chairperson for our Client Support committee.
Michael has a personal connection to our mission and again has great enthusiasm for building the organization. He is currently serving as Interim Treasurer while Melissa is on leave.
Another important member of our volunteer team is Emily, who serves on our Advisory Council. Emily has a strong background in project management and helped us complete our first strategic plan. She will be working with us to implement our plan.
The S.A.F.E. Food Pantry would not be where it is today within the dedication and countless hours of these volunteers. A simple thank you does not fully express the deep gratitude I have for this team. We look forward to adding new volunteers to our organization soon and hope you will consider joining us as we provide gluten free and allergy friendly food to those in need.
P.S. I must also mention my husband, Allan, who puts up with my long hours and is willing to help behind the scenes. His love and support are endless, and I would be unable to do this without him by my side.
2015 has been an amazing year as the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry volunteers worked behind the scenes to build a strong nonprofit organization. We are looking forward to an incredible 2016 with new programs and partnerships.
Our volunteers are the heart of the organization. The time that they so generously donate gives us the ability to help others without the administrative expenses. Our Board of Directors, Advisory Council members, and specialized volunteers provide countless hours to propel this organization to the next level.
Another key part of our organization is the donors. This year we have be blessed with generous donations from businesses and individuals who believe in our mission. Our donors are spotlighted in the Donor Hall of Fame.
Although we have made good progress this year, it will take a lot more to open our first gluten free and allergy friendly food pantry in 2016. Please stay tuned as we continue to seek volunteers, contributors, and donors in this new year and make some awesome things happen in our community.
The S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization based in Howard County, Maryland.