March At Just Food
Households Served - 5,085
Individuals Served - 10,576
New Shopper Households - 307
Number of Volunteer Hours - 2,009
Number of Volunteers - 203
Average Hours / Volunteer - 10
March 2023 Food Purchasing
In addition to all food donated to Just Food through food drives, food recovery, and through other means, Just Food also purchases food for our pantry each month. Currently, we have budgeted $40,000 for purchasing food (up from spending just $2,300 per month as recently as February 2020). Soon, we anticipate that number to increase to $50,000 per month or more due to rising food costs, reduced access to donated food, and the increased need across our county.
Transparency in how we are spending that budget it important to us and we know it's important to our supporters and donors. In the spirit of that transparency, we will be sharing our monthly purchasing breakdown in each month's The Dish. We welcome your questions about how we acquire our food, any partnerships for food purchasing you may be able to help us leverage, and, of course, your donations to help us fill this ever-growing need.
Please reach out to our Executive Director, Brett at email@example.com with any questions or connections you may be able to share.
Budget Recipe of the Month
This Skillet Lasagna recipe is a simple and quick alternative to traditional oven-baked lasagna.
The recipe involves browning Italian sausage with onion and garlic in a skillet, then adding canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings to create a flavorful sauce. Broken lasagna noodles are then added to the skillet with water and allowed to simmer until cooked. The dish is finished off with dollops of ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella, which are melted under the broiler to create a cheesy, bubbly topping. The result is a delicious and easy-to-make one-pan meal that is perfect for busy weeknights.
Estimated Cost: $9.01/recipe - $2.25/serving
Recipe: Skillet Lasagna
Volunteers of the Month - Margo Holland & Jess Moyer
For the month of April we TWO Volunteers of the Month -- our Thursday morning dynamic duo Jess & Margo! Jess has been volunteering with us for two years and Margo for 1 1/2 years. Together they volunteer at check-out on Thursday mornings, counting points, packing groceries and having conversations with our shoppers. They both have an approach that is grounded in meeting people where they are, and making genuine connections based in care and humor. They love seeing the same people every week and cultivating those relationships over time. It allows them to take an interest in shoppers' lives, showing people that they are cared for and remembered. Margo especially loves interaction with the kiddos and tries to create a light and joyful environment for them as much as possible. She recently bought and decorated a treasure chest, filling it with prizes and toys for the little ones who visit us at Just Food. Jess is grateful that Just Food exists, that she's able to be a part of something meaningful. Food is her favorite way to connect with people, and she loves the idea of being a part of people's weekly routine.
Jess is transitioning into building a new career after staying home with her children, and Margo is an artist in her free time. They both enjoy going to local coffee shops to co-work and hang out. We are so grateful to both of them for their continued dedication and the care and kindness they offer our shoppers.
In April, we hosted two interactive Volunteer events. First, we gathered our Warehouse and Pantry Volunteers together to give an update on best practices in each of the volunteer positions. We went through a variety of best practices, including items related to shopper interactions, recycling, gleaning, the points system, household verification and more. Toppers donated pizzas for all of us to enjoy at the end of the meeting.
Last week, we welcomed our amazing volunteers to our first Volunteer Town Hall conversation. We discussed lots of things, including our plans and goals for the remainder of the year, why we have to abide by some of the policies and procedures we have in place in the pantry and warehouse, and our appreciation for all our volunteers do to make Just Food's operation run smoothly. We gave our volunteers the opportunity to ask questions and they delivered some fantastic ones.
Thanks so much to everyone who was able to make it to both events and to the Lawrence Public Library for hosting us for the Town Hall! We look forward to the next opportunity to connect with all our volunteers in a similar setting!
Food Justice Partner of the Month - Sprouts Farmers Market
This month we recognize Sprouts. Sprouts has been a partner for 8 years and one of our top donors. Week in and week out they continue to provide ready-to-eat meals, fresh produce, bread, non-perishables, and frozen meat. The staff is always friendly and willing to get all the food organized for pick-up.
Last year, they donated an incredible 130,171 pounds of food. So far this year, Sprouts has donated 27,005 pounds, which is on track to surpass last year's donation.
Another amazing program Sprouts contributes is Grab 'N Give, during the holiday season. Shoppers can purchase pre-made non-perishable and/or personal care bags to be donated to Just Food.
Thank you Sprouts!
Get to Know the Just Food Staff
Amy Hope - Office Manager
Meet Just Food's Office Manager, Amy Hope. Amy is responsible for managing the organization's finances, including its monthly and yearly budgets, donor base, grants, and fundraising events. Her duties involve recording and depositing donations, tracking grants and their associated compliances, and ensuring that all invoices and fees are paid on time.
When she's not at work, Amy enjoys spending time with her family and pets. She lives with her spouse, fifteen-year-old daughter, three dogs, and two cats in Lawrence. On a typical Saturday afternoon, she likes to take her dog, Juno, on a hike, work in her yard, or go on a bike ride along the Burrough's Trail. She often ends the day by sitting on her deck with a glass of wine.
Amy has been living in Lawrence since 2003, with a brief two-year absence between 2017 and 2019. Over the years, she has come to love the city and its many events. She particularly enjoys the Lawrence Busker Fest and the Fiddling and Picking event.
An interesting tidbit about Amy is that she and her dog, Juno, are involved in the Loving Paws Animal Assisted Therapy program. Juno obtained her Canine Good Citizen training and certification when she was less than six months old, and together they enjoy visiting KU students for Stress Buster Breaks and participating in Paws for Pups events on campus. Their work is both fun and rewarding, and it's a great example of how Amy brings her passion for helping others to everything she does, whether at work or in her personal life.