Grand Circle associates honored with 2011 Volunteer of the Year award
Speaking at a Partner Appreciation Luncheon held on October 14, 2011, Catherine D'Amato, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), asked her audience to focus on some statistics:
The net annual salary for a full time employee earning minimum wage is $16,000.
The federal poverty standard for a family of four is $22,000.
In Suffolk County, Massachusetts, including the city of Boston, the economic self-sufficiency standard for a family of four—which is how much working adults must earn to meet their needs without subsidies—is $72,000.
For many families earning between $22,000 and $72,000 per year, hunger is a very real problem—yet government assistance is not an option. "Poverty is at its greatest level since 1993," says Catherine. "More than 800,000 people in Massachusetts, including 260,000 children, face hunger on a regular basis. And 50% of the people who use our services make too much to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) [formerly known as Food Stamps]."
It's sobering but not surprising that the Greater Boston Food Bank has seen a 23% increase in patronage since the start of the economic downturn. Last year alone, the Food Bank served more than 545,000 people—which translates into 35 million pounds of food that needed to be inspected, sorted, packed, and distributed from the GBFB facility. It took more than 16,000 volunteers and 50,000 hours to make it happen—and now, the support of volunteers is more crucial than ever.
Grand Circle was proud to accept the Volunteers of the Year award at the Greater Boston Food Bank Partner Appreciation Luncheon, in honor of the consistency and commitment of our associates who regularly donate their time at GBFB's warehouse facility. The Food Bank is a longtime partner of Grand Circle Foundation, and Catherine D'Amato serves on our Community Advisory Group, which unites nonprofit leaders toward a common goal of building a better Boston. Since 2008, under the leadership of Tom Whearty, Grand Circle's Director of Business Solutions, more than 100 Grand Circle associates have helped sort and package food at quarterly community service events. Tom accepted the award on behalf of his fellow volunteers. "It's great to be able to represent the Foundation in accepting this recognition," says Tom. "Thanks to everyone who comes out to volunteer. Associates are always so quick to respond whenever I put the call out, which is incredibly gratifying."
With the need for assistance ever increasing, the Greater Boston Food Bank is stepping up their efforts by setting more ambitious goals. Today, the Food Bank distributes 35 million pounds of food annually—a number they hope to increase to 41 million by 2013. We look forward to supporting their success by continuing our community service events—and our volunteers look forward to helping every quarter.
Featured in our October 2011 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.