As founders, it is hard to believe that Food Link is five years old. What began as picking up bread at one Panera cafe now includes 120 volunteers rescuing food not only at that Panera, but also at 12 additional supermarkets and specialty stores in the area. It still amazes us that we are now collecting and distributing over 30,000 pounds of fresh food – and reaching over 5,000 people through 30 social agencies – each month.
Food Link has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 4 years, and it is all thanks to your support.
We wanted to update you on the latest happenings and our upcoming plans at Food Link. Brittany Peats, our terrific Operations Director, is now full time and Matt Gray is our brand new part-time Volunteer Coordinator/Operations Assistant. Four excellent people have joined the Food Link board over the past year: Pamela Hallett, Marjorie Kroeger, Judi Bohn and Heidi Logan.
Our December Celebration was a wonderful opportunity to share our gratitude for our amazing volunteers, donors, and partners, and to learn more about wasted food from Doug Rauch of Daily Table. December also closed with an incredible Year End Fundraising Appeal that raised over $40,000. These funds, along with many grants that Food Link was awarded in 2016, will support staff salaries, commercial refrigeration and maintenance of the van. Thanks to this support, we will also be able to prepare for Food Link's new operations location.
January found us celebrating the first birthday of “aMEALia,” our superb van. In December 2015, many of you helped us to acquire our brand-new Ford Transit 150 Cargo Van. Not only does the extra space in the van make collecting and distributing food so much easier, but its air conditioning is critical to food safety (and volunteer sanity!) during the summer months. The interior lights are bright as day, so that we can see what we are doing when loading during the early dark evenings of winter.
We’re thrilled to announce that two new refrigeration units have arrived! In the past, we’ve had to refuse food rescue opportunities because of a lack of short-term storage space. Now, we will be able to distribute even more fresh food than before.
Thanks, as always, for your support. We look forward to many more years of service and are glad to have you as partners along the way!
DeAnne Dupont & Julie Kremer