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  • Ryan Bowersox

The Dish | February 2022

Dear Just Food Supporter,

It always feels like January never ends and then, boom, it’s the middle of February! Although a short month, February is still a very full month for the Just Food community.

On February 1st, Just Food broke its record of number of community members shopping in the pantry. On that day, we served 1,217 individuals from 464 households in Douglas County. A year ago, Just Food was averaging around 200 households per day. Food banks across the country have risen to this unprecedented demand brought on by COVID-19 and all of the subsequent issues the pandemic has caused. Supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and lower inventory have made the challenges of providing fair and equitable access to nutritious food more difficult for organizations whose mission it is to provide such services. Back in November, Katie Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer of Feeding America, said: “what happens when food prices go up is food insecurity for those who are experiencing it just gets worse. Food banks that expanded to meet unprecedented demand brought on by the pandemic won’t be able to absorb forever food costs that are two to three times what they used to be.” Although this can seem bleak, Just Food has so many bright sides happening within its community. The best bright side to consider: we were able to be there for all of those individuals and their families.

Another bright side? Our volunteers also showed up and served their community. Last month, we recognized several volunteers in The Dish for their dedicated service to Just Food and our mission to end hunger in Douglas County. And on Valentines Day, we celebrated all of our volunteers and were proud to award the Presidential Volunteer Service Award to volunteers who served over 100, 200, and 500 hours at Just Food this past year. Congratulations to these volunteers! Their dedication continues to inspire us as a staff and future generations of volunteers. We are indebted to your service.

Earlier this month, we put out our annual survey for Just Food shoppers and program participants to solicit feedback for the pantry and services Just Food provides. As we are still collecting responses, I wanted to leave you with this comment:

“Thank you so much for what you do for the community. You have helped my family through one of the toughest times. After COVID and long-term unemployment as a direct result, Just Food kept food on the table. The holiday packages were also much appreciated. I see all the hard work people put into their jobs there. Keep up the excellent work!” - Just Food Shopper

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