On an ordinary day twenty years ago a group of visionaries and volunteers came together to do something extraordinary – take excess food that might have gone to waste and use it to feed people in need. Their task for the day – prepare a meal for 60 people at Holy Family Shelter.
But that was Day 1. Thousands of days later the volume of our work has grown, but the mission remains the same.
Today, 41 volunteers are at work at Second Helpings preparing and delivering 4,000 meals for many of the 86 agencies we serve. At the same time, our Culinary Job Training students are learning about soups and stocks from Chef Anna Powell, herself a 2011 graduate of the program. Chef Anna challenges each class to explore their creativity and most importantly, to believe in themselves and what is possible.
One of the greatest challenges at Second Helpings is to measure the impact that this organization and its supporters has in our community. That task is even more daunting when you try to look at it over 20 years. The numbers tell part of the story . . .
- More than 30 million pounds of food recovered and put to productive use.
- 12 Million nutritious meals delivered to those in need
- An additional 15 Million pounds of food directed to pantries
- Nearly 800 men and women prepared for new careers and opportunities for self-sufficiency.
- $5 million/year in annual food cost savings to our community
That’s a lot, but the impact of Second Helpings goes far beyond that – and it’s not in the numbers, it’s in the stories.
Ask our partner agencies and the people they serve about the impact these meals have on their organizational sustainability, and on the nutrition and quality of life of the people they serve. Ask a child what it means to know that they will have dinner that night.
Ask our graduates about the power of a second chance and the power of a paycheck. Ask them what it means to be able to support their families and to model employment and career growth for their children.
Ask our volunteers about the rewards of working together as a community toward a common goal. To know that your time is valued and that your work will impact the lives of others.
And I know I speak on behalf of our staff when I talk about the power of knowing that each day your work means so much to so many.
These are the impacts that go beyond measure and they have been at the heart of who we are at Second Helpings for the last 20 years and they will be for the next 20 as well.