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Franklin Food Pantry Takes Stock, Gives Thanks and Reflects on Its Role

Each year the Franklin Food Pantry assesses its accomplishments and how it can better serve the needs of the community. The Pantry has been taking steps toward a three-year plan of action that encompasses clarifying its mission and role, and establishing short and long-term priorities. Over the next three years, Franklin Food Pantry hopes to achieve a solid infrastructure including expanded Board and Committee membership; enhanced client services and outreach; a first annual community dinner, and development for future facility improvements.
The Franklin Food Pantry currently provides service to approximately 600 households; which translate to 1,590 neighbors, 35% of whom are children. Many of these households have at least one working adult but are still unable to make ends meet. Linda Sottile, Director of Operations, stated that in Fiscal Year 2012, the Pantry distributed 186,000 pounds of food, which is an increase of 35,000 pounds over last year. The Pantry has also seen a 43% increase in clients returning weekly for bread and produce. To help meet the steadily rising need for services, the Board of Directors brought on Erin Lynch to serve as Director of Development. Ms. Lynch has a strong background in nonprofit leadership and community building, which aligns with the Pantry’s goal to create a broad network of resources collaborating on sustainable solutions.
Together the staff and board have used the last six months to evaluate the Pantry’s image, message and goals for the future. First on the list was to design a logo symbolizing its philosophy and role in the community. With the expertise of Ian Kabat, Director at the Franklin Art Center, the Pantry found their new logo in the image of a circular shaped puzzle made up of four pieces: people connected and unified in a common purpose. Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, Ms. Lynch said “The decision to break away from traditional images associated with food pantries, such as corn husks or loaves of bread, was intentional to relay the larger message that the Pantry is a collaboration of all residents to nourish each other in body, mind and spirit. While we are here to fill a significant need, we are only a piece of the total puzzle.”
“We are all in this together,” states Steve Sherlock, Franklin Food Pantry’s Board President. “There are many factors and circumstances that create food-insecurity. We feel well suited to take the lead with other Franklin agencies and organizations to make available the necessary resources for those who can benefit from them.” The primary role of the Pantry will continue to be to provide immediate hunger relief but it will also play a pivotal role in bringing the community together as one.
Building the infrastructure necessary to do the work is essential. “We depend on the support of our community: the dedicated volunteers, donors, corporate partners, schools, churches and all of our neighbors to reach our goals. Food, non-food and financial donations are greatly appreciated at all times throughout the year. We are thankful for the continued support and efforts of every individual and group that has paved the way to nutrition and steady meals for our community,” said Lynch. Fundraising events are planned to stock the shelves, drive awareness and engage the community in fun ways.
Here are ways to easily raise awareness and support for the Franklin Food Pantry and local food banks everywhere: