NNEMAP Food Pantry is a non-profit corporation. Two key concepts reside in there, but I’m going to focus on the second idea: corporation. Non-profit organizations are businesses. As such, there are expenses–occupancy/rent; utilities; payroll; equipment. In that way we are just like, say, General Motors or Microsoft.
As a social service agency, we clearly have a different product line from a car manufacturer or software developer. Instead of products, we offer programming–in our case, free groceries for low-income customers. And we have different expectations on how we expect those programs to perform. We are not in existence to make money, but we have to offer some sort of value proposition if we can expect community support.
Our grocery delivery service, introduced and eventually made permanent last year, provides an excellent return on investment for the community. Here is how the numbers work out:
-Every grocery delivery that we complete costs about $13. That’s for everything. Food, staff time, mileage–the works.
-A 2017 assessment of food-insecure families found that the average low-income household in Franklin County spent $2.02 per person per meal.
-The average amount of food we deliver replaces about 31 meals for the recipient household. Stay with me here.
-By delivering food to provide 31 meals, NNEMAP Food Pantry is saving customers, on average, $62.62 per delivery. We’ll do the math: 31 meals x $2.02 per meal. Instead of spending money to have groceries delivered by a for-profit grocer at a steep markup, we deliver similar products for free. Instead of paying for a restaurant to deliver food for one or two meals for the household, we deliver food for 3 DAYS or more. Instead of going hungry, customers get fresh, healthy produce and great shelf-stable goods to go with it.
We spend about $13 per delivery. But we SAVE customers $62 and change. That is ALMOST a 5-to-1 return on investment ratio (4.81-to-1 to be exact). Would Microsoft invest in a project with that kind of return? Thinking yes.
Your support for NNEMAP Food Pantry provides big returns for the community. If you would like to help with a cash donation or volunteer to be a delivery driver, you can do it right now by clicking below. Thank you for your support!
You never know what’s going to happen at NNEMAP Food Pantry. Take this recent customer’s adventure, for example. Kendra (name changed) sent a request for free grocery delivery service right after the New Year. It was January 4th–our first business day of 2021. Pantry Manager Jim Hamberg called Kendra back to confirm the request and set up a delivery time. Business as usual.
The next day, business took an unusual turn. Kendra called Jim back to cancel the delivery request. “I do not have money for rent, so I am probably going to get evicted. I don’t know where we will be, so I don’t know where to tell you to deliver,” she explained.
A year ago, Kendra was a working, single mother of a middle-school aged son. Like many families, they had enough to get by as long as nothing crazy happened. Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The first wave of shutdowns left Kendra without a job. After finally finding a new, full-time job that would be sufficient to support her household, she was diagnosed with Covid-19 as part of a final, pre-employment screening. After seeing the positive Covid test, the employer rescinded Kendra’s job offer.
In less than 48 hours, Kendra and her 12-year-old son were going to be out on the street in the dead of winter with no food and no place to go. That was not acceptable. Jim and NNEMAP Food Pantry Executive Director Roy Clark found a nearby organization that would help Kendra pay her rent. A couple of phone calls later, Kendra’s rent was paid and she could stay safely at home.
Crucially, avoiding eviction will keep a blemish off Kendra’s credit rating–a negative mark that could haunt her for years to come. Also, staying in her home meant Kendra’s son would not miss any school time or transfer to a new school. Countless studies have shown that the effects of missed school time or transferring to a different school have a devastating effect on academic achievement. For a middle school student, missing school or being forced to transfer could have catastrophic effects.
Some quick thinking and good listening helped Kendra avoid a disaster–and helped her son stay on track in the classroom.
All in a day’s work.
Restricted access to libraries and public school shutdowns have made reading material hard to come by. I almost–ALMOST–resorted to dusting off some Dickens in a moment of desperation.
For a lot of people, including NNEMAP Food Pantry customers, books are just hard to get ahold of right now. A few organizations do their best to keep our bookshelf stocked, but it has been difficult to keep up with pandemic-related demand. From our youngest readers to our oldest bookworms, these items are more popular at the pantry than ever before.
Can you help? Why, yes, you can! If your young readers have outgrown their kiddie books or you have boxes gathering dust in the basement, please consider donating them to NNEMAP Food Pantry. We will guarantee a good home for every author from Dr. Seuss to, yep, Charles Dickens.
For maximum impact, organize a gently-used book drive at work, at church, or in your neighborhood. Click on the “Customizable Flyer” link to download a…customizable flyer for YOUR book drive!
Say what you will about 2020, but you have to admit it was not uneventful. For a year of pandemic-induced lockdowns and travel restrictions, it was not without its excitement.
NNEMAP Food Pantry experienced a year of accelerated growth and explosive expansion in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In case you missed it, we….
*Expanded our service territory to include the whole City of Columbus and Franklin County,
*Allowed shoppers to come once a week instead of twice a month,
*Added Thursday afternoon/evening hours so we are now open 6 days a week,
*Introduced a popular grocery delivery service for customers who can’t get out.
As expected given the economic fallout of the pandemic, we were busier than ever distributing food to our friends in the community. By the end of the year we…
*Served 5,137 unique households (up from 3,736 in 2019)
*Served 17,480 unique individuals (11,904 in 2019)
*Fulfilled 18,546 requests for groceries (17,338 in 2019)
*Distributed the equivalent of 605,250 meals (526,731 in 2019).
Thank you to our supporters, including our incredible church network; United Way of Central Ohio; The City of Columbus Department of Development; The Columbus Foundation; and hundreds of individual donors who gave what they could for those who had nothing to spare.
Thank you for helping us navigate a most unusual year. 2021 is off and running already. We are looking forward to running this race with you again!
We are always welcoming new partners to our community. Click a link below to learn how you can get involved today!