Interfaith Food Ministry: Feeding the hungry
What is your mission statement?
Mission: Interfaith Food Ministry feeds the hungry in Nevada County, helping to sustain health, human dignity and the opportunity for individuals to realize their full potential.
What is your yearly budget (optional), and how many paid employees do you have?
For 25 years we have been an all-volunteer organization. With rising numbers of individuals needing food, increased need for volunteers (we have more than 450 at present) and an expanding organization, 2013 will bring, for the first time, a part-time executive director. We rely on the generous donations of the local community, businesses and churches to provide food for the hungry in western Nevada County.
What is your nonprofit’s history?
IFM has been providing supplemental food as a 501(3)c non-profit in Western Nevada County since 1987. Over those 25 years, more than 500,000 seniors, families with children and single adults have walked through our doors.
But the genesis of IFM actually goes back to 1981 when Mary Cahn went on a missionary trip to China, Hong Kong and the Philippines. She was very moved by the poverty that she saw, and when she returned home to Grass Valley, she felt the need to feed the poor in her own community.
Thus Operation Blessing began. Mary and a few like-minded individuals rented a small house with St. Patrick’s Church and Calvary Chapel paying the rent. A board was formed and Mary was elected director.
Mary and her team of volunteers collected produce and breadstuffs at Safeway and Lucky stores, even offering a free haircut program for a while. There was also room for clothing and toys. They were open Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the food ran out. As need grew and word spread, they moved to an empty church on Main St. and then to a garage on S.outh Auburn, which evolved to form Interfaith Food Ministry in 1987.
Who is your primary audience?
Our desire is to give food to all those who are experiencing food insecurity. Hunger has many faces. The elderly who can’t make ends meet on fixed incomes; single parents with hungry children; men and women who have lost their jobs; mothers and fathers who work for minimum wage; families with temporary hardship. Some are families who have lost hope … perhaps your neighbor?
– 5,600 people served (2300 families) in Nevada County
– 30 percent children, almost 10 percent seniors
– More than 70,000 bags of groceries given out in 2012
List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit¹s history:
– The joining together of 15 local faith communities, united in our desire to feed the hungry.
– The purchase of our present location and ongoing support from our community.
– The coordination and cooperation of an all-volunteer organization.
List the biggest challenges you face:
– Serving all who are food insecure. We had to reduce the number served by 40 percent due to insufficient space, parking and food storage.
– Projected increased food costs and need for services.
– Raising the money to purchase a larger facility.
What is your No. 1 short-term goal for the next year?
Serve as many as we can who are food insecure while raising funding for a larger facility.
What is your No. 1 long-term goal for the next three years?
Provide enhanced services and serve up to 7,500 families (50 percent more than current) through the purchase of a larger facility.
What are your major fundraisers and dates?
Operation Turkey – For $20, sponsor a family’s holiday meal October through December
TBD – Partnering Against Hunger Campaign events that support the purchase of a larger facility.
What is the best way a person interested in your organization could help?
Visit http://interfaithfoodministry.org/index.html to find out ways to help. Volunteer help is always welcome. While food donations are greatly appreciated, a financial donation goes a lot further since IFM can purchase food at wholesale prices.
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