The Loaves & Fishes Board of Directors, Staff and facilitator Tammie Foote presented Loaves & Fishes’ Strategic Plan at a breakfast meeting on June 6, 2017.
The need for help with food is growing despite the improving economy. Some data points that made now the right time:
- A high and growing higher number of people in our area face food insecurity: 1 in 16 people overall, 1 in 6 children and 1 in 5 senior citizens.
- Poverty rates in some of the towns we serve are 12%.
- The poverty rate is $24,600 for a family of four with most assistance programs limited to those at 1.5 to 2 times that amount which is more than $25,000 below the $75,000 average cost of living in this area
- The population living on fixed incomes is growing rapidly as baby boomers retire.
- Improvements in transportation to Devens may lead to more people who need our services gaining access.
- Hunger and food insecurity aren’t the same thing. Quality and nutritional value of food matter. As Loaves & Fishes has shifted to more fresh produce our storage and distribution requirements have shifted.
- Uncertainty over funding and other support for public assistance programs.
Fall 2016: As part of their own training and development, Loaves & Fishes’ Board identified the creation of a Strategic Plan as a priority.
February 2017: Tammie Foote was hired to facilitate the process and a Strategic Planning Committee consisting of Board, Staff, Volunteers, and Community Members began the planning process by collecting data and performing a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis.
February – March 2017: Data collection and analysis continued through a series of focus groups, surveys and interviews.
March 2017: The committee evaluated the gathered data as well as the internal and external SWOT elements and drafted the three year plan. See “Plan Highlights” below for key goals from the plan.
April 2017: The plan was reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors.
May 2017: The Board approved retaining Tammie to facilitate the staff’s development of the implementation plan for the strategy.
June 6th 2017: The Strategic Plan was presented publicly in a breakfast meeting at Loaves & Fishes.
What happens next? The staff will be working with volunteers, Board members and other community members to develop the implementation plan to achieve the goals over the next three years.
The Strategic Plan, sub-titled “Building on our Foundation” focuses on extending Loaves & Fishes impact on food insecurity by refining our existing mission and operations to increase the number of people we help, improve the experience of being helped and ensure we have the infrastructure necessary to help effectively, safely and efficiently all while retaining the kindness and respect that is the essence of the Loaves & Fishes community.
The Strategic Plan sets three major goal areas with a series of objectives in each. Full details are available in the Strategic Plan document (PDF). The three goal areas are:
- Increase Access to Food
- Build Awareness
- Strengthen Systems and Infrastructure
Reaching All in Need
The result of this Strategic Plan will be that Loaves & Fishes, with support of the entire community of donors, partners, and volunteers, will provide nutritious food to more of our neighbors in need now and in the future.