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  • Writer's pictureJama Ross

The Triple Impact

We started our mission locally with one school. As we feed over 3,000 every weekend, our organization has grown in ways we could never have dreamed. But we're always dreaming here.

Our community is a giving one, and we in the world of non-profits can get so caught up with the competition for donor-dollars and the fighting for the funding that we forget that WE are our own greatest resource. By that, I mean each other.

As we met to discuss the upcoming school year, the topic was the same as it is for every meeting: how can we do more for more kids? As we began to toss around ideas for fresher options, Pontiac Street Market was brought up. Their mission, their produce, their proximity to the same children that we feed every weekend. It suddenly seemed so clear; we could source the food for those kids while working to eradicate the food desert in their community. By supporting this market's mission, we could now work to recycle our donor dollars to fight food insecurity AND boost community development while giving our kids even more healthy options.

How had we not thought of this sooner?

"Because of the number of people needed to make it happen," came back the response. So true. We would need hundreds of hands and hours on a weekly basis to sort, transfer, pack and distribute for every school in various locations across the city. A heavy ask for an ongoing need.

Parkview Health stepped in immediately, claiming the transfer and the sorting piece. "Our employees can sort per school and transfer, if you can find the packers," they said. A huge piece of the puzzle fit into place, but the largest still remained. Coordinating hundreds of bags every week. Who would fill such a need?

A meeting (actually, several meetings over many months) with The Chapel provided an incredible solution. "We'll take Fairfield Elementary," they said confidently. I was introduced to a saintly man named Bob who had been in charge of volunteer coordination years ago for our partnership program. He selflessly volunteered to be the mission captain for this school, and it was evident to me that he was a born leader whom volunteers would not only follow, but whom I could trust with such a huge endeavor. One school, just as we had in the beginning.

We could dream from there.

Shortly after the word came back from Bob. "Two schools," he said confidently. "We can also take Adams Elementary." I did some quick math and realized that our second school meant that we were now looking at over 700 children that would be benefitting from this new programming, and 700 weekly orders for the market.

Canterbury High School came next. "Our high schoolers would love to be part of this mission," the said. "What a great way to show the impact by having them help feed elementary schoolers near them." South Wayne it was.

We jumped up to almost 1100 children in just a week of finalizing our new program. Almost half, thanks to those willing to do their part to make the GREATEST impact for those most in need. With every school we convert, we feed, we pour dollars back into a fellow non-profit, we build the community, we give volunteers the opportunity to give back and to be part of the solution. We should have called the program "Countless Impacts."

We're still dreaming though.

Of more schools, of more partners, of the most we can do with the gifts that have yet to reveal themselves; they're the greatest blessings in the truest forms. And we can't wait to see those impacts when we work to create them, together.



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