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2022: Twice the Good with Half the Money

We need HELP like never before!

We anticipated that the post-pandemic economic fallout could be significant. Repercussions from rent and mortgage relief delays and job losses were bound to cause an increase in our client base.

During 2020 we experienced an amazing outpouring of assistance to meet needs as the chart below shows, and then fear set in:

Because we knew it was going to get worse before it got better, we held back funds from 2021 to make it through this year, and we were right to make that decision. Unfortunately, 2023 looks very much like it will continue the current trend.

The needs continue to grow but the bottom has dropped out of our donor support. The numbers don’t lie.

Compared to 2021, 2022 saw a 42% increase in people served, while in contrast, our financial donations dropped 53%. Obviously, our financial contributions are not going to be sustainable for the road ahead.

It has taken me a bit of a struggle to get my head around the numbers. How do we even begin to serve the number of people we do with so little? While these are financial donations, and we obviously get much more in gift-in-kind donated food, our food supply and the costs of food are much more dramatically alarming than even the financial aspect. We augmented the lack of food supply last year with financial donations from this year AND the year before. We don't have that option this year.

The income this year also includes a $2,400 grant for children's programming, completely unrelated to the food pantry. The chart shows our entire income. I don't know of any household that could operate on such a budget. If we weren't allowed a ridiculous amount of space thanks to the Foundry Church, the food pantry wouldn't be in existence at all.

It would not be possible without close to 4,000 volunteer hours, and that is also not sustainable. We need to expand our financial capacity to actually pay staff and to grow our programming.

We didn't start our Lifewerks nonprofit to be a food pantry. We started out as a mentoring organization geared to help young people make a difference in the world. The food pantry evolved because those kids were hungry.

We have a plan and a vision to do so much more than simply help solve a short-term problem. We want to get back to what we started and then some. These expanded goals will see long-term change in people's lives, not just for our current food pantry clients, but for the next generation.

We aren't quiting or giving up. We've been a nonprofit since 1997, and started before that. We have a history. As a couple, we have personally invested countless hours and dollars down through those years. Our reward has been seeing lives filled with hope. Won't you help us grow our vision into the future?

Please consider making one more last minute 2022 donation. You may make it on our website through Paypal (which you can use without a Paypal account using any credit card) or you can drop off cash or a check (see * below) in person. We are a 501c3 nonprofit and acknowledge annual donations with a letter for your tax purposes every January. And if it's not possible for you to make a donation for the 2022 tax year, please realize that a donation any time of year counts the same as ones made in December. And we need it even more come spring and summer.

I will be at the pantry Friday and Saturday. If for some reason you can't find me, it is safe to drop a donation in the mail slot in the door at 25 Cedar Road. I will check it both days.

* Please be aware that a check that is mailed can only legally be taken as a tax deduction based on the date of the postmark on the envelope, not on the date written on the check. So, it is possible to mail a check in December, but the post office doesn't put a post mark on it until January of the following year. If you've stuck with me to the very end, thank you.

And if you can help out, a thousand thank you's!

Joy Kieffer

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