2020: Reflections of Connections and Hope

When we reflect back on the events of this year, the term “hindsight is 2020” seems appropriate.   COVID 19 spread rapidly early in the year and changed so much in this world and our lives. 

Dan Herzog, President – Food For Friends

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the amazing Food For Friends volunteers and benefactors who stepped up their giving and serving despite this new crisis. Throughout the entire year and continuing through this holiday season, you have leaned in, connecting and providing hope to people in need all over our city and suburbs. Hundreds of volunteers and partners have joined Food For Friends and/or donated resources of money during this years uncertain times.

In addition, we have had new volunteers, donors, and partners reach out to us and commit to support the mission of Food For Friends. Plain and simple, they all have been moved by the events of 2020 and they believe in our vision to help our neighbors and their children.

Because of your generosity and rising up to the needs, we have served a record number of events, 58 in 2020, and have served over 30,000 meals!  Although we had a handful of cancelled events due to COVID, we evaluated and adjusted all events moving forward to make them safe and effective (masks, social distancing, wipes, hand sanitizers, etc.) for the volunteers and guests. It has been amazing to see what our entire team has been able to accomplish.

  • Carryout Meals:   We held 16 events where we distributed carryout containers of prepared meals. We estimate the number of people served at well over 2000.
  • Mobile Food Pantry Events: We held 10 food truck events this year, distributing thousands of meals to over 2500 families.
  • Blue Bag Events:   30 events were conducted with multiple partners throughout the year. We distributed more than 2,000 turkeys and Blue Bags that each contained enough side dishes for a meal. These events served thousands of meals.
  • Grocery Distribution to Fellowship Housing Families: We held 8 events and distributed boxes/bags of groceries to approximately 10-15 single moms and their families at each event.

Besides the serving events, we have been blessed with an increase in generous donations this fall. In addition to our annual golf event in September (which raises the greatest portion of our donation resources), we also held our first GIVING TUESDAY fundraiser campaign. Just this past month, a local Fitness Club was kind enough to hold a virtual workout with all proceeds going to Food For Friends.

So as we end 2020, Food For Friends is getting stronger. We thank you for all that you have done. Looking forward to 2021, the impact of the pandemic is also increasing. So many of our friends and neighbors have fallen on hard times from loss of jobs, illness from COVID19, some freedoms, and sadly, some have even lost family members.  The needs and requests for food and help continue to be brought to Food For Friends from many sources.

Looking to the future, as we close 2020 and ring in the New Year, our board of directors are more excited and energized than ever before.  We know that with great resources comes great responsibilities. With that in mind, our commitment to our mission of Connect and Give Hope will continue right away in January to strive to meet the challenges and needs of the hungry. So, please stay tuned in to our Events page on our website. As the new year kicks off we will be posting our 2021 list of upcoming serving events. We hope to build upon what we did in 2020 and then some! If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us.

In closing, please know that we are so grateful to you for the generosity and gifts you provide us. With your continued volunteerism, support, and donations, we know we can accomplish great things together. Let’s continue to do God’s work and serve our neighbors.

Blessings to you and family,

Dan Herzog, President – Food For Friends