To the editor:
I take exception to the March 9 editorial questioning Just Food as a failed enterprise akin to welfare.
A short summary of their efforts since October 2009 starts with 2,000 individuals monthly using the pantry. They have a monthly mobile food pantry providing perishables to 200 households and receive two other emergency commodity programs including one for seniors. Food drives from throughout the county accounted for 7,000 pounds of donated food distributed back to the community last year.
A partnership with Harvesters enables Just Food to leverage food purchases for 10 cents a pound. Refrigeration and freezer capacity programs with the Farmers Market for surplus produce each week, plus donations of excess fresh products from area gardeners, can be kept fresher and shared with those fighting food insecurity.
Volunteers equal three full-time employees. These include data entry, grant writing, pickup from grocers, and day-to-day work in the warehouse.
Just Food is not in competition with other pantries; we complement their efforts. Losing Just Food would put unimaginable strain on everyone fighting hunger. Consider this work as one leg of a three-legged stool that includes shelter and health care. Just Food is like any other nonprofit appealing to the community for help. It is young and lacks a defined fundraising mechanism at this time, but its success and asset to the community deserves support and its grassroots fundraising campaign should be applauded.