A Look Back at 2022
Guests placed 8,900 orders in 2022, obtaining food to serve 19,400 people during the year. Our guest roster in 2022 included 1,090 guests in 498 households. Nearly 60% of the households included a guest over the age of 65. Overall, 44% of our guests were adults under the age of 65, 23% were children and 33% were seniors. We started the year serving 335 guests each week and ended serving 490 guests a week, an increase of 46%. Adults under the age of 65 and children under 18 accounted for the vast majority of this increase.
The increase in guest numbers led us to creation of a third shift of volunteers to fill orders. By year end we routinely operated morning, mid-day and afternoon shifts each week. At the end of 2022 our roster of active volunteers included 175 members of the community. Of these, 68 came to us for the first time in 2022 and 36 have been with us for more than three years. In total volunteers provided more than 23,000 hours of service in 2022.
We distributed over 364,000 pounds of food in 2022. Of that 63% was donated and purchased from the Greater Boston Food Bank, 3% was purchased locally, and 34% was donated by the community. According to Project Bread’s conversion ratio, the food we distributed provided 303,330 meals for neighbors.
Return of Our Summer Farmers' Market
We restarted our summer farmers’ market on Friday afternoons so guests who pick up their groceries had a choice of selecting their own their fruit and vegetables or having them pre-packed by Pantry volunteers. Nourishing the North Shore has been partnering with us on these markets since 2016. We had put them on hold when Covid struck and didn’t have room in our temporary location. Guests and volunteers were delighted to have them back.
Pantries in Local Schools
In collaboration with the Triton Regional School District we established food pantries inside Triton High School and Salisbury Elementary School in late November. These provide snacks and mini-meals for students to eat at school and take home. In early 2023 we plan to establish additional pantries at Newbury Elementary, Pine Grove Elementary and Triton Middle School.
Our Ordering System
In 2022 we continued to refine reporting and user ease with our online ordering system. As the number of guests we served grew we realized we would need a more robust system to work effectively and began a search for software that would handle online ordering, guest management, inventory management, and the reporting needed to eliminate the extensive excel work needed to effectively organize the Pantry. By the end of the year we had narrowed our search and expected to be able to contract for the system early in 2023.
Our Financial System
Half way through the year Oracle approached the Pantry with an offer of a free version of their NetSuite software. Over the next six months we learned the system and began conversion from Quicken to NetSuite. We expect to go live in early 2023.
Our New Building
On January 10, 2022 the steel was delivered for our new 2400 square foot building. Construction began immediately. The building was ready for occupancy at the end of April and we moved into it the first weekend in May. The work was supported generously by the community, with significant in-kind donations from Atlantic Contract Systems, Caswell Mechanical, and Coffey Design and Build.
Changes Enabled in the New Building
With additional space we established a new workflow for filling orders and purchased 1 new refrigerator, 1 new freezer, new racks for storing food and a generator for use during power outages. We also purchased new larger shopping carts to better suit our volunteers’ work and incorporated several other changes to respond to volunteer needs. These ranged from adjusting the height of tables used for bagging, incorporating wind- and rain-proof sides on tents we set up outside and building an entryway to better shield inside workers in winter.
We received donations from 238 members of the community, including some volunteers and guests, and 34 businesses and charitable foundations.
Our Public Profile
In 2022 we distributed monthly newsletters to 475 people in the community. On Facebook, we reached 22,638 people, a three-time increase over 2022. We had a 60% increase in Facebook followers, ending the year with 533 followers. In addition to these activities, we continued to speak before local service organizations and received excellent press coverage about our new building and school pantry program.
Our Public-Facing Events
We held an Open House at our new building in June to welcome volunteers and guests to our new home. In August one of our volunteers who is a professional musician brought together top musicians from around Boston for the second annual outside concert. Like the first, it was wildly successful.