What do you think of when you hear the word charity? Do you think food - I didn't.... not until I began working with people who were truly hungry. Hunger has always been an annoyance to me... not a problem.
The Francis House food pantry began in 2007 with a 10,000 pound donation of food through the US postal Services Letter Carriers Food Drive. Very quickly - within two months - that donation was gone. Very quickly we learned that the need and demand outweighed the supply. The food we distribute became the main source of food and while we helped to reduce the hunger among our clients, we have not been able to eliminate it.
We have said before, more and more clients are depending on the food we provide as their main source of food. Our food pantry has near empty shelves and our hygiene items have been scarce. The donations coming in through GlobalGiving have given us hope that people do realize that not everyone has access to three meals a day.
As you think about where you want your hard earned money to go, know that every penny of these donations goes right to putting food on someone's table. Justice is being done.
"Hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice." Jacques Diouf, Food and Agricultural Organization Director-general
Just like that. A group of people sitting in a room trying to figure out what programs to cut because of lack of funds. First on the chopping block - Food.
The drastic cut in area funding resulted in the largest Food program for the HIV/AIDS community here in Tampa Bay to close its doors on February 29, 2012. Food is not ranked as a high priority, but is essential for clients to maintain their health and stay adherent to their HIV medications, which in turn keeps them living longer.
Francis House's pantry was designed as a supplemental program for the clients that participate in services. It is now the only food pantry in the area that specifically serves our HIV/AIDS community. And we can't serve them without you. Our budget is $500 per month. Our distribution is amost $3,000 worth of food and hygiene products each month. Your Global Giving donations have helped us stretch this budget and continue to serve as many people as we can.
But, like all other small non-profits, we need more. I am asking you to buy a meal, to buy another day of a person able to take their medications. To invest in our community and the people that make our community what it is. To invest in a population that still faces the stigma of their disease every day.
I thank all of you that have donated to our project and have already invested in our people.
Happy New Year!
What do you put on your fork? For breakfast? For Lunch? For Dinner? It's a question many of us rarely ask ourselves. It's a question our clients ask themselves every day. The meals and pantry services that Francis House provide are essential in helping to keep our clients healthy and adherent to their medical care.
The donations received through Global Giving have helped us keep our pantry stocked with cereal, canned vegetables and soups, canned meats and pastas, ensure, boost and a variety of hygiene items.
We thank you. We thank you for your generosity and hope to have your continued support in 2012.
We wish you the very best that this new year has to offer, and everything that you can possibly want on your fork...