Mission: The Nantucket Food Pantry provides food on a temporary basis to persons with no income or inadequate income to feed themselves and their families. The Food Pantry’s assistance is available until the client’s circumstances improve.
Director: Anne Marie Bellavance
Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4-6pm
Location: 10 Washington Street (the Greenhound Building). Entrance at rear of building on Candle Street.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 2597, Nantucket, MA 02584
The Nantucket Food Pantry believes that effective service begins with a better understanding of what the community needs. We are making compassion, dignity and conversations a priority while investing in the community assets and resiliency of our local food system to contribute to the healthy future of Nantucket.
The Nantucket Food Pantry goals are cultivating:
- Access – strengthen the quality and reach of healthy food acquisition and equitable distribution programs. Assessing how to best reach those many hungry neighbors we are not yet serving.
- Collaboration – Partner with local and regional initiatives to learn best outreach and program practices, maximize local food assets and invite creative ideas for new and innovative approaches to ending hunger on Nantucket.
- Knowledge – Share research, stories of impact, food literacy tools and local food asset maps with Nantucket community. Invite the many local experts to share their approaches to accessing healthy food choices, maximizing their food budget, farming/gardening, cooking, nutrition, storing, advocacy and enjoying food.
In 2015, the Nantucket Food Pantry will be focusing on:
- Increasing access to fresh produce by partnering with existing local, fresh produce initiatives including Sustainable Nantucket, Community Farm Institute, Moors End Farm CSA program, Bartlett Farm, Pumpkin Pond Farm and other backyard farmers.
- In partnership with Sustainable Nantucket, creating a Share Your Harvest program to allow CSA shareholders and backyard gardeners to donate unused portion of their CSA share to the food pantry.
- Partnering with NAREB and real estate offices to create and implement a vacation rental Food Rescue program to collect unused food from rental properties every Saturday in July & August.
- Mapping the food suppliers used by local supermarkets, restaurants, hospital, schools, senior facilities, clubs, churches, convenience stores etc. to help us determine ways to maximize our food acquisition budget.
- Surveying clients, food providers and community in 2015 to help us develop, innovate, evaluate and determine the effectiveness of the NFP Program.
- Partnering with schools to begin to develop food literacy curriculum guides.
- Creating our new, donated, Salesforce.com CRM database to leverage the following data:Client Demographics, Household Visit patterns, Food inventory management, Cost containment, Partnerships, Community Experts, Food providers, Volunteer management, Donor details etc.
- Assessing how to best reach those many hungry neighbors we are not yet serving.
- Beginning conversations with new Culinary Arts Center regarding learning opportunities.
- Brainstorming film series possibilities with Starlight and Dreamland theatre.
- Continuing conversations with restaurants to assess interest in Community Meal concept.
- Drafting a strategic plan to help us determine priorities and future space needs.
In June 2015 alone, our neighbors received more than 1,560 bags of groceries during 454 visits to the Nantucket Food Pantry (NFP). In the past year, the Food Pantry distributed more than 10,035 bags of groceries during 3,029 visits serving more than 1,327 neighbors. We tripled our core shopping list from 12 items to 36 items leading us to more than triple the number of pounds ordered from the Greater Boston Food Bank from 30,785 to 108,139 lbs.
NFP believes everyone has the right to choose to eat healthy. Providing healthy choices, including fresh fruits and vegetables is a priority, therefore NFP purchased six Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares from Moors End and Bartlett’s Farm to offer clients fresh, local produce. In addition, NFP just launched a new program in partnership with Sustainable Nantucket called Share Your Harvest to continue to explore community, farm and backyard garden donations to supplement CSA harvest.
Funding: The Food Pantry is supported by public and private grants, fundraisers, and donations of money and food from local businesses and the general public. Our largest fundraising events are the annual Chef’s Choice event at the Nantucket Yacht Club and the Beach Volleyball Tournament.
“Share Your Harvest”
In an effort to expand the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to its client community, the Nantucket Food Pantry is inaugurating a program to involve individual, family and group gardeners as suppliers of fresh produce. Known as “Share Your Harvest” the program is intended to ensure that Food Pantry clients have access to local fruits and vegetables while reducing community-wide fresh food waste and spoilage.
This new program is based on a very successful public service program of the Garden Writers Association launched in 1995, known as “Plant a Row for the Hungry”. Since 1995, over 20 million pounds of produce providing over 80 million meals have been donated by American backyard gardeners. All of this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic red tape – just neighbors helping neighbors.
The program undertaken in association with Sustainable Nantucket is designed to make maximum use of the bountiful crop produced each year by the many group, family and individual gardeners on the Island. Since in most instances, specific crops ripen at one time resulting in more produce than the gardener can use or share with friends/family, the Food Pantry will be happy to collect the excess quality produce and supply it to the over 300 families who make use of the Food Pantry on a regular basis.
Food Pantry volunteers will be available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to pick up the already harvested fresh fruits and vegetables from gardeners who contact the office on Friday (for pickup the next Tuesday morning) or Tuesday (for pickup on Thursday morning). Or gardeners can drop their bounty off at the Food Pantry location, at the rear Candle Street entrance of 10 Washington Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2pm and 4pm
If you are interested in participating as a gardener or volunteer or want more information, please call the Nantucket Food Pantry at 508-228-7438 or email Anne Marie at ACKfoodpantry@gmail.com.