A message from the Executive Director
Last spring, our board of directors decided to undertake a building expansion. We moved into our current space in 2003 and have simply outgrown our building. As of summer 2016, our expansion is now well underway, and we expect it to be completed by the end of October. We are excited to announce that our capital campaign was successful, and we reached our goal of $625,000 to fund this project! Thank you to the generous donors who made it possible for this organization to build a space that will last for many years.
“It’s like a judgment free zone (here). When we go to the grocery store people stigmatize us when they see us using WIC or Food Stamps. When you come here, you don’t get that. People just care and want to make sure you get fed. So much of our lives is (filled with) worry, anxiety and uncertainty and this place is the complete opposite…it’s made such a huge difference in our lives.”
Why do we need to expand?
MCHPP has been housed in the same facility in Brunswick since 2003, and over the course of the last 12 years we have seen a large increase in our client base. Since 2003, visits to our Food Pantry have increased 80% and meals served in our Soup Kitchen have increased 47%. In addition, we have added several new programs, such as the Backpack Program, focused on reducing child hunger in our community.
As we have grown, we have also improved our food rescue strategies, and in 2015 we processed 719,980 pounds of donated food. This means that our clients are receiving more nutritious food than ever, but it is putting a strain on our food bank. We currently store excess food in off-site storage as we do not have adequate space to store all food on-site.
As we have gradually improved our communication to hungry people in our service area, added flexibility to our service hours, and improved our programs, our facility has become increasingly crowded. By expanding and renovating our building, we hope to improve our clients’ experience and ensure that we can continue to provide this basic needs service well into the future.
What Changes Will We Make?
- Build an addition to the Food Bank
- Build an annex building behind the current facility
- Renovate and reconfigure the space of the current building to allow more space for the agency’s core operations and better serve the clients. This includes adding a waiting room space.
- Add 2,424 square feet to the existing building, for a total agency footprint of 8,424 square feet.
How has our growth created a need for expansion?
As seen in the graphic above, since 2010 our agency has been actively focused on reducing barriers that hinder clients from accessing our services, and on reaching more people in the community. By expanding our hours, increasing and diversifying our programs, and improving our client experience, we have made great strides in reducing hunger in the mid coast Maine community.
- Between 2011 and 2012 we saw a 13% increase in the number of visits to the Food Pantry and a 10% increase in the number of meals served in the Soup Kitchen. We started offering Food Mobiles, holding 8 that year, and we saw a large increase in the use of the Summer Food Service Program when we increased the number of meal sites.
- Between 2012 and 2013 we saw similar increases in usage of the Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, plus we held three additional (eleven total) Food Mobiles and started the BackPack Program. In the fall of 2013 we served 197 children and their families weekly through the BackPack Program.
- Between 2013 and 2014 the increase is less dramatic, yet still significant. We again saw a 10% increase in the use of the Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, and we increased the BackPack Program to an average of 270 children weekly. We did add one Summer Food Service site but it was unsuccessful.
- In 2015 we continued to see growth in all of our programs, including a 3% increase in visits to the Food Pantry and a 14% increase in meals served in the Soup Kitchen. In addition, in the summer of 2015 we offered 13 Summer Food Service meal sites for children, an increase of 6 sites over the previous year.
As MCHPP grew and started to establish the infrastructure necessary for an expanding organization, the cost per meal rose for many years. Since 2010, we have focused on maximizing the efficiency of our operations, and have seen a drastic decrease in the cost per meal that our organization provides. See below for an explanation of how these cost savings were achieved.
- Since 2010, existing staff did not see significant increases in wages, and fundraising and building maintenance costs did not increase significantly. The only significant additional expenses during this time were new positions, including a volunteer coordinator, program director, and administrative assistant.
- The Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen saw extreme growth with minimal change in programming. We scaled by adding Saturday hours in 2013 to both programs, and adding 15 minutes to the Soup Kitchen lunch in 2014, but otherwise the program structure has remained the same since 2003. Since 2010 we’ve seen a 50% increase in meals out in the Food Pantry and a 33% increase in meals out in the Soup Kitchen.
- We have added new, low overhead programs since moving into our current facility. Food Mobiles and the BackPack Program have added substantially to the number of meals going out, without greatly burdening staff time or agency resources.
- It is important to note this savings has been successful despite the fact that the cost of food has increased at a higher rate than the rate of inflation since 2006.
As the cost per meal decreased, and the number of clients served increased, we have also steadily grown agency assets, helping to ensure the stability of the organization over time.
- The large increase in assets seen from 2005-2006 simply delineates the accrued value of the current building.
- Assets include: operating money, a replacement reserve for equipment maintenance and replacement, a board restricted operating reserve, the current building, equipment, and vehicles.