Year End Report: Food is Easy to give, Dignity and Respect is harder
Greeting Friends and Supporters.
Happy New Year.
I thought I would take the opportunity to diverge from our usual year-end report telling you how generous you were last year, listing the tens of thousands of pounds of food and dollars you donated, or the thousands of people our volunteers served fighting food insecurity and the impact it had. As usual, You, and We, did all that and more.
Instead, I want to share a story that happen in July when a young husband and wife, who could not speak English came to the food bank on their bicycles looking for food assistance.
Spanish was the language and our translators were not on duty that day. So, we muddled through the Spanish-English charades along with Google translator enough to determine their family composition (2 adults, 6 children) and their needs.
Problem was, we were offering 10 bags of groceries and they were on bikes. Luckily, it was summertime, and my bike carrier attached to my SUV (which doubles as a delivery vehicle for the pantry). We piled the groceries in the back, hooked-up the bikes, and drove them back home.
When I got back to the food bank, I noticed in the back seat there was the woman’s personal tote bag. I knew calling them would be futile because of the language barrier. I took care of some issues that came up at the pantry while I was away then I drove back to their residence after about 40 minutes.
It was 2:30 in the afternoon, I knocked on the door, they answered excitedly, I returned the bag. When I looked into the room, all the family were sitting at the table, already beginning a meal with the food we just delivered!
With more charades, they mimicked eating food to me and offered me to sit and join them.
The one word I heard the most was Gracias. The most common use of the word gracia (grace) in Spanish is in its plural form, gracias, their usual way of saying “thank you.” In English, this meaning of “grace” is present primarily when used to refer to a prayer of thanks said before a meal.
I was a little hesitant and resisted the offer to sit down, but I then realized it was a long time since this family could be hospitable to themselves let alone to others, yet I believed they needed exactly that, probably even more than the food. They needed the dignity and respect to be able to be in a position again where they could celebrate and also share with others.
As I wrote on the subject line of this email: Food is easy to give, Dignity and Respect is harder.
Thank You for your year-long generosity and support allowing us to offer food easily and the opportunity to learn the Grace to offer Dignity and Respect to our guests.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Last month we sent you a picture of what 2,000 pounds of food looks like and we also mentioned we need 25,000 pounds of food a month in order to serve the needs of our families.
Perhaps that picture had the effect of a plea, or dare we say a prayer, to stimulate an awareness and action for our work battling local food insecurity.
Never have we had a month where all almost all our food supply came in via donations. We have always needed to purchase the shortfall.
However in November 2022, a Thanksgiving month, we thank all of you for giving us a record of over 28000 pounds making our runs to the purchasing line much shorter for just a few items like Eggs, Butter, and Frozen Foods, and those items rarely donated.
Not to put a damper on this great accomplishment, please remember our output demands are 25,000 pounds each and every month of the year.
We especially want to recognize all our volunteers who weighed, sorted, and packed all that food this month. They do so much, and are the reason for the success of our mission. It is not easy work. They are extraordinary people doing extraordinary work with extraordinary caring and compassion.
This Thanksgiving and Holiday Season we thank you for giving, and speaking for myself and all our volunteers, we wish you could see the smiles, the tears, the hugs, and the blessings we get from those whom we serve. .
All that goodwill belongs to not only those who volunteer with us, but extends to all of you.
Thank You so much for trusting us with your support.
Dear Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends.
The Miracle on Downey Drive:
Last Year, at our year end inventory, we had 3500 lbs. of food sitting on our shelves as the starting point of our 2021-2022 Fiscal Year which began July 1, 2021.
Here’s what we did since then:
We received over 116,500 lbs. of donated food.
We purchased over $101,000 worth of food.
The estimated retail value of all of that food is over $357,000.
We provided family sized market baskets to 1758 families, representing 6979 individuals,
We distributed over 163,000 lbs. of food to those families in addition to another 10,000 lbs. to our Veteran’s Group partners and other food pantries needing help.
That output provided enough food for over 136,000 individual meals.
This output has no precedent in the 64-year history of our organization and is almost three times the number of families serviced in any other previous year.
We did all this, and at the inventory close on June 30, 2022, we had 6575 lbs. at year end, 3000 more pounds than we started with – truly a miracle.
Today, there appears to be no letting up in the demand for food assistance and the difficult economic challenges families in need are experiencing.
Thus, this year, we will be called on again for another miracle.
With the help of a kind and gracious Community, dedicated Volunteers, and with the generosity of our Friends and Donors – We will.
The picture below is
what 2000 pounds of food looks like!
We need 25,000 pounds each month to meet our service needs.
We are so grateful for your continued support. Last month, our volunteers and donors sorted and collected a record amount of food over 20,000 pounds.
Dear Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends.
In the month of May, our direct service, (those are guest families who come directly to the Warminster Food Bank to pick up food) they received just under $33,000 worth of food assistance.
We also provided for another $7600 worth of food for our local Veteran’s outreach and critical aid to other food distribution pantries for record monthly output of over $40,000 worth of assistance.
Adding the families we served directly along with the other groups we assisted in May, adds up to just under 300 families served representing over 1200 people accounting for over 37,000 individual meals provided, or 9,250 family (family of 4) sized meals.
More challenging than Covid, is the recent and drastic food price inflation.
Without regard to the why, or the who, or what is responsible for food price increases, the effect is devastating on those whose means are marginal, bringing new people to us each and every month, forcing people to make hard choices between rent or food, medicine or food, gas or food, utilities or food, thus creating record demand.
The work and generosity of our volunteers and donors has been a blessing without which we would be unable to sustain this unprecedented level of service.
Our amazing volunteers are very busy, constantly moving, packing, sorting, and delivering food in every shift. The office phone rings continuously on operational service days.
Among our donors, we want to thank Warminster Community Park and all the participants, donors, and sponsors of our inaugural Donation Dash 5k event on May 7th. The event was a great outpouring of rain and support for the food bank. Next Year’s event will be Saturday, May 6th, 2023.
We thank Colonial Subaru in Feasterville for their Pack the Outback Food Drive for us.
Finally, we especially thank our supporters from the various local faith-based communities for supporting us month after month.
In Alphabetical order they are:
Advent Evangelical Lutheran – Richboro
Bryn Athyn Cathedral
Bux-Mont Baptist – Hatboro
First Presbyterian of Warminster
Nativity of Our Lord – Warminster
Neshaminy-Warwick Presbyterian – Warminster
North and Southampton Reform Church
Shir Ami Synagogue – Newtown
St. Joseph’s Church – Warrington
St. Robert Bellarmine – Warrington
United Methodist Church of Huntingdon Valley
We are grateful for all the support you give that allows for our service for local families in need to continue.
This is like Deja Vu all over again.
It seems like with every new month our service output is at record levels. March 2022 is the second largest in the history of the food bank with 180 families accounting for 720 individuals. The estimated supermarket checkout value of this aid totals over $36,000
Year to date 2022; we served 497 families accounting for 2060 individuals.
Those numbers are more than all of 2019 and every other preceding year’s total since our inception in 1958 and we are only finished the first three months of the calendar year.
Above and beyond our direct service, is the extra assistance we provided to other food assistance groups such as Healing Center in Levittown. Salute 2 Service Veterans in Bristol, and Klinger Middle School Farmers Market, all totaling an additional $5300 of food assistance.
We also received a special request from our friends at Warminster Rotary Club who received a request from another frequent donor; St Ann’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Warrington. They asked us to provide personal care items to provide for Ukrainian Refugees. Through our distributor contacts, we were able to provide Warminster Rotary Club with a large amount of product in cases which are much easier to ship oversees than the loose items they received from individual donors..
Some have suggested that aid like that is not local and falls outside our mission of serving local neighbors. However, for this degree of human suffering, worthiness is irrelevant, and in this case, prayers, hopes, and good wishes are great, actions are better.
The demands of compassion and justice calls for our involvement.
Thanks for all your support.
Mike Cerino, Director
Warminster Food Bank
75 Downey Drive
Warminster, PA 18974
Check out our April 3rd Stuff The Cruiser, Giant Food Stores, Warminster, PA
Check out our 5k Run/ Walk Donation Dash May 7th Warminster Community Park.
This month has been another busy one for us. We served 149 families, representing 563 individuals, who came in to pick up baskets. We provided another 2000 lbs. of food assistance to Local Veterans in need through “Salute 2 Service”. Stay tuned for more information about another Veterans project we are planning called “Breakfast for Champions”. Don’t tell the Wheaties people! (unless they want to donate cereal).
A recent stunning report, not from a news outlet, but from the US Commerce Department, reported that price inflation is costing the average US family an additional $279 a month.
What is amazing about that number is that it is not dependent on income. In other words, if you make $100,000 per year or $25,000 per year, the $279 increase is applied.
Based on the above, it is easy to see how regressive the burden of inflation is on poorer families.
We don’t expect food prices to get any better soon with the conflict in Ukraine which impacts two of the world’s largest wheat producers.
On a positive note, we thought you might be interested in some of the reviews posted about us online:
-They are amazing and so friendly!! If it wasn’t for this organization, I wouldn’t know what I would do! They just don’t know how much we need this! I want to hug each and every one!!!
-Get appointment. Call when you arrive. They bring your food to your car and load it into your trunk. You leave with your food. Everyone must wear mask. No face to face contact. You stay in your car the entire time. They give you enough food for the entire month. Very nice people!
-Such an incredible blessing to have available when needed – amazing workers that are so helpful, patient, friendly & fast.
-Friendly, kind, and generous to help a family in need.
-They are feeding families during this pandemic. Great job!
-A great place to get help !!!
Nice Comments. Without our Volunteers and Donors, none of this good work is possible, Thank You.
Finally, check out our 5k Run/ Walk Donation Dash May 7th Warminster Community Park.