February 1 marked six months in my (not-so-new) role as Chief Development and Marketing Officer at Mercer Street Friends (MSF). It’s been the fastest six months in my professional career – and wow, has it been great!
I stepped into this role with a background in nonprofit arts, social services, and education, girded by an extensive career in corporate market research, marketing and strategic forecasting. Yet, despite solid experience, I am still learning so much.
For starters, I now know there is a significant difference between a food bank and a food pantry.
MSF is the sole food bank for Mercer County which, in Courtney-speak, means that we are the authorized bulk food warehouse and distributor for our area pantry partners. One of the vital roles we play is leveraging our buying power to make sure families receive free turkeys and eggs which, if you’ve been following the news, have increased in price exponentially. We operate a well-oiled warehouse that allows large pantries like HomeFront and Arm In Arm, and smaller pantries run by churches, to pick up food on a weekly basis without the burden of having to purchase commercial freezers. When you consider the magnitude of the food distribution process from our warehouse, and the amount of people we touch through our pantry partners, it’s quite impressive.
Beyond the impact of our programming, I’m struck by the spirit of community that is so emblematic of being a Mercer Street friend. From our food bank Ambassadors and corporate volunteers like Carol Bursac and the Citizens Bank crew who pack food for our student and family meal programs, to the students at Solebury Friends, Littlebrook, and Mr. Morrison’s 3rd grade class at Stony Brook, who represent some of our youngest patrons, the consistent levels of kindness and generosity towards our neighbors is humbling.
As I look at the year ahead, I’m excited to dive into our Community Schools partnership with the Trenton School District and work with our food bank to increase community access to fresh produce. I’m also looking forward to announcing a partnership supporting literacy that’s been in the works with NJM, McCarter Theatre and Bryn Mawr Trust/WSFS.
There’s so much that I have to share, but more than anything, I wanted to take this time to simply say, “thank you.”
Your commitment to Mercer Street Frends’ mission is deeply felt and very much appreciated.
Here’s to the spirit of community!
If you’re interested in chatting about ways to support Mercer Street Friends, monetarily or otherwise, please reach out to me email@example.com.