The Hopewell Food Pantry (HFP) was organized by a group of local churches in June 1983 to provide emergency food to individuals and families who were in TEMPORARY crisis, primarily waiting for their Food Stamps to begin. This mission has continued for over 30 years and has been expanded to serve all Hopewell families in need of food. The Hopewell Food Pantry is a 501(c) (3) (not for profit) organization. Donations are tax deductible.
The HFP is a highly respected organization and has the on-going support from a large number of the local churches, organizations, businesses, individuals, and the City of Hopewell. Their support, along with the support of the Cameron Foundation, the John Randolph Foundation (JRF), Community Development Building Grant (CDBG), Capital Area Partners Uplifting People (CAPUP), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), FeedMore (AKA Central Virginia Food Bank) of Richmond and the United Way is the reason that we have been able to fully complete our mission year after year. Again this year, we have not reduced the food quantity or quality of our distributions nor have we turned away any eligible family because of a lack of food.
On July 29, 2016, the HFP relocated to a brand-new facility for the first time ever, ie, 33 years. The new facility has been a blessing to the volunteers and clients, plus several new programs have been added that benefit our clients. This building is almost 100% larger, has easier access, a central location and numerous amenities that were lacking in the old site. The support of so many organizations has made this happen. (This will be discussed later in this report.)
In FY 2017, the HFP provided a week or more supply of food to 4569 family units totaling 12041 clients, a new high number of clients. The number of families served was 3.7% higher than FY 2016 and the number of clients increased by 8.6%. The number of clients served was on par with the last five years of 11088, 11573, 11,175, 10,880 and 10,701 respectively. For the 12041 clients served in FY 2017, a total of at least 250,000 meals were provided at an estimated value of over $375,000.
Food products and funds continue to be donated by local churches, individuals and various organizations. In FY 2017, fifteen churches conducted 138 food drives; 29 organizations, including the Boy Scouts, and businesses conducted 56 food drives; and 43 individuals brought food to the HFP. The Hopewell Postal Workers conducted two city-wide food drives resulting in the collection of over 11,000 pounds of food. The spring food drive collected 7500 pounds, the most ever. Further food is regularly donated to the HFP by the local Food Lion, Panera Bread, Little Caesar’s, Goya Foods warehouse, KFC, and Wawa. When available, Hunters for the Hungry has provided us with deer meat.
Total cash receipts of $37,000, including $3000 as part of the move, were donated from The Shepherd’s Place, participating churches, individuals, various organizations and several honorariums. Forty-four churches, businesses and organizations donated funds to the HFP in FY 2016, in addition to 20 individuals. Allocated funds were received from the United Way of Hopewell and FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
Our budget for this fiscal year was $126,975 compared to $108,675 in FY 2016, and was increased because our rent was going up from $5400/yr. to $24,000/yr. Our total income from all sources this year, not including the moving expenses, was $136,782. Ten grants were received. Seven for General Operations, totaling $98,358, and three others were related to the move. Cameron Foundation gave us $35,000, and John Randolph Foundation provided a $40,000 grant. FEMA’s grant this year was $3358. The city of Hopewell’s Community grant was $7000. The Community Development Building Grant (CDBG) provided two $5000 grants, because one was delayed. Capital Area Partners Uplifting People (CAPUP) grant was $6000. $38,000 in grants were specifically related to our relocation. Cameron and John Randolph Foundations each donated $15,000 for a total of $30,000. FeedMore gave us $5,000. Other notable financial support came from the United Way of Hopewell and other UW locations provided $9687 and an additional $500 to purchase turkeys. As part of The Shepherd’s Place mission, we received $6000.
The total expenses for the HFP in FY 2017 were $174,782. The cost of the relocation was approximately $43,000, of which $38,000 was specifically earmarked, therefore $5000 had to come from General Operating expenses. The cost of operating the HFP in FY 2017 was $132,682 compared to a budget of $126,975. Food purchases were $73,989 compared to $73,339 for last year or 56% versus a 74% of our costs. Occupancy expenses were up from 14% to 20% because of new facility; and our one 1099 contract worker was 12.3%. Other costs, mostly related to the relocation were approximately 10%. All distributions to clients are made by volunteers.
Our program to provide a monthly food distribution to the elderly poor and permanently disabled continues to help those who meet those criteria. (“Regular” families can only receive a food distribution four times per year due to our resource limitations). An average of 208 elderly poor and permanently disabled individuals were helped each month in FY 2017, holding steady with FY 2016. A new program could be started because of the increased size of our new facility, see below
The number of homeless clients remained steady. We know that most homeless persons have nowhere to store perishables or even food items. To make our food distribution work best for their needs, a homeless person can come once per week and receive ¼ of a normal distribution with an emphasis on pop-top cans of meat and fruit. Interestingly, some of them volunteer on the days they pick up their food. This year we gave out food over 800 times to our homeless clients. Keep in mind this population is very inconsistent, so the exact numbers of individuals is not known.
Due to our continuing heavy client load, we are very diligent in ensuring client eligibility so that abuse of our guidelines is minimized. Using a computer spreadsheet to monitor our clients’ visits has allowed us to keep better track of each client family and cut down on abuses. Each client/family must have a picture ID and proof of Hopewell residency.
The HFP encourages community involvement. The local Girl Scouts decorated our front room and windows for Christmas. They did an excellent job. One girl scout has planted a ‘victory’ garden with all the food being donated to us. To further involve the community, clients must get a referral (voucher) for food from HDSS or local member churches. Referrals are an essential part of our mission as it allows all these organizations to feel connected to the work we do for the poor and needy of our city. Further we allow individuals to do court ordered community service.
On July 29, 2016, we relocated to a completely remodeled building 903 West City Point Road. Using the FeedMore grant, a local moving company was hired to move all the freezers and other heavy items. Community support did not have to be solicited. It was offered by many organizations and individuals, including the police and fire department. Ultimately, the United Way volunteers and staff moved all the other items to the new location or to the dump. The Hopewell High School coach brought many football players, who after clearing the old building out, swept and cleaned the place.
Along with the new location, HFP had a new logo designed and created a new motto “Neighbors Feeding Neighbors”. Our Facebook page, Hopewell Food Pantry, has been very active with frequent posts and many ‘likes’. This is the primary way we get information to potential clients and donors. Our website, www.hopewellfoodpantry.com, has pertinent information about us and The Shepherd’s Place for those looking for such information.
The new facility has allowed the HFP to expand its offerings to our clients, while continuing its fine service to Hopewell residents. THREE NEW PROGRAMS WERE MADE POSSIBLE BY HAVING THE ENLARGED SPACE AND WALK-IN COOLER (This cooler was donated to us by Capital Area Partners Uplifting People (CAPUP)):
Policy and operating procedures are established by the local Board of Directors. A list of the members of the Board is available upon request.