The New Hampshire Food Bank (NHFB), through its 352 member agencies, feeds 90,000people throughout the state. On June 17th, many New Hampshire residents heard the words of Melanie Gosselin, Executive Director of the NHFB. "This is the lowest we've seen, this is the worst.” The NHFB also hosted an Open House that night; so people could see the bare shelves and hear about ground-breaking new programs in person.
New Hampshire is full of caring, giving people that understood the urgency, believe that food is a basic need that everyone should have and were inspired by the New Hampshire Food Bank’s expanded mission as both a food distributor and a leader in addressing the root causes of poverty and hunger. Within days, the community rallied behind the New Hampshire Food Bank.
Fidelity Investments in Merrimack, NH, responded immediately with a $2,000gift. “By donating funds directly to The New Hampshire Food Bank, Melanie and her team can leverage a significant purchasing power not available to the average consumer,” said Alison Stebbins, Regional General Manager for Fidelity Investments Merrimack, NH. “Fidelity salutes the NH Food Bank for their dedication and commitment to making a real difference in the lives of New Hampshire residents and for their resolve to eliminate hunger in the state,” said Stebbins.
Neighbors that came to the open house brought $5,675 in donations, and $6,960 came in from online donations. The total of $14,635 has been used to purchase desperately needed food items, including chicken noodle soup, macaroni and cheese, pasta and tomato sauce, cans of tuna, carrots, green beans, peas, beef stew, pork& beans, long grain rice, and wholesome cereal. This food is arriving in 2 shipments, Tuesday August 5th and Tuesday August 12th.
When individuals donate monetarily to The New Hampshire Food Bank, their dollars are stretched to maximize the quantity and quality of food for the hungry. Through relationships with foodservice distributors such as Cirelli Foods, Inc., the dollars the NHFB has to spend are 30-50% more valuable compared to retail prices. Key factors in this equation include getting serving sizes of food you would find at a grocery store at wholesale prices, purchasing food in bulk quantities and eliminating the high fuel costs of going the store.
With the current economic hardships, more and more people are wondering where their next meal will come from, and are being forced to choose between putting gas in the car and food on the table. Demand is so high that this significant purchase will last less than 2 weeks.
The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, is also facing challenges from all sides. There is a 30-40% increase in demand, and donations are at an all-time low with only half the inventory seen at the lowest point over the past two years, and only a fraction of the average for many years. The decreasing donations are partially due to the improved inventory controls in the grocery industry. To make matters worse, the cost of transporting food is at an all-time high, with diesel at $5/gallon and trucking companies unable to deliver produce from the west coast.
"This has challenged us to think out-of-the-box.”, says Melanie Gosselin, Executive Director of the NHFB. The NHFB has launched new programs, like Recipe for Success, to enhance their mission and address the root causes of poverty and hunger. The Recipe for Success program is a pro-active approach to make nutritious, wholesome meals accessible to all those that can’t afford it. The program includes four projects: Fresh Rescue, a Culinary Training Program, a Production Garden and Operation Frontline classes.