1. A passionate part time staff who love their jobs who work with caring people to make a positive impact in the community. An assistant director, JoAnne Boss, who manages the dining room and schedules volunteers for at least 20 positions each week. JoAnne listens to guests, makes referrals, and keeps everything organized. Two amazing cooks who guide volunteers in preparing, serving, and cleaning up after meals. Our cooks are flexible - never exactly knowing what food will be available that morning. They are creative using ingredients to the fullest, most nutritious way possible and always making something delicious. Our work is supported by our custodian who makes sure the floors are swept and mopped, trash emptied, chairs and tables are set up and ready to go, and everything is clean and sanitary. A Board of Directors who cares, provides vision and support, along with financial oversight and fundraising events - like this one.
2. An amazing volunteer staff of over 170 people, who freely give of their time to make sure every person who comes to us is welcomed, invited to a place at the table prepared for them, follow guidance from our cooks, and deliver the plate of goodness to each guest. Each volunteer kitchen crew brings a fresh perspective, an infections energy that makes meal prep a joy. Lots of laughter, deep conversation, and friendships have blossomed at the kitchen. Each year volunteers give over 3500 hours each year.
3. Dependable partners who provide valuable assistance to our mission - offering kitchen and dining room use. The Greater Lansing Food Bank providing good quality food basics - canned goods, non-perishables, fresh fruit and veg and dairy at no cost to us - a savings of over $30,000 each year over retail. MDOT who hold a large fundraiser each year to support our mission financially. One of our newest partners is Valuland at Colonial Village each month patrons donate between $25-$35 in the donation box placed by their door. The Spartan/Nash Foundation conducted a regester scan when patrons could choose to donate 1, 5, 10, 20 at the regester, the store surpassed it's goal and a donation of $2000 was made to SCK. Local churches, local foundations, organizations and businesses, and individuals who invest in our efforts through grants, bequests, and donations of money and goods.
Because our community invests in our mission, we are in the midst of our- Going Green in 2019 - inititave. After years of using disposable foam plate and cups - 1200 or so a month we replaced our foam plates with three compartment reusable melamine plates and reduced our waste from 4 1/2 trash cans full to 2 trash cans and we are saving money by not using foam. Last month, we replaced our foam coffee cups with real coffee mugs - another savings of money and trash.
All of these ingredients come together to meet the need of 1 in 5 people in our community who suffer from food insecurity. These are community members who for a variety of reasons find themselves unable to adequately feed themselves. Chronic or short term physical and or mental health issues, substance abuse, released convicts, retired folks, widows and widowers, grandparents taking care of adult children and grand children, school age children in the summertime especially, divorced women, divorced men, people living in their cars, people living in sheds, the homeless, the forgotten. The working poor, entire families relocating, immigrants, refugees. We see everyone, the only thing our guests may have in common is hunger. Everyone gathered around the tables - laughter, conversations, sharing challenges, and joys. To these folks hunger is not an issue --it is their life.
Through our work with people who hunger, we build relationships. Our guests have positive interaction and conversations with our guests. We are all much richer and have a better undersatnding of what hunger does, what hunger is, and how to fight hunger.
I believe that as important that serving meals to people in need, it is our responsibility to be advocates for all people who hunger. We must tell the story, put a face on hunger because to us it's real - not an abstract concept. That is one of the reasons you are here today - we want you to know about hunger, about our work and hope that you will become an advocate. Work to change our systems of injustice that put barriers preventing people from the ability to pay for groceries - for medication- for utilities, for housing.