Our first campaign, $5 for Fresh Food, that kicked off just over a month ago on December 1st, otherwise known as “Giving Tuesday” was a massive success. We quickly eclipsed our first goal of $2,500 so we doubled it and moved our goal to $5,000. We thought the first goal was lofty, but after an incredible outpouring of support we decided to be bold. Though we did not quite hit our goal of $5,000 for the month of December, all in all in 2020 we raised almost $8,000.
A small part of this money went to paying for insurance, applying for a 501(c)3 from the IRS, and setting up our website and accounting software. Those necessities required for running any kind of business, even one that is not for profit, gave us a great opportunity to learn how to run an organization. While it is never fun to spend any money that is not directly on programming, the money we did need to commit to our organization and structure were well worth it. Despite needing to make some one time purchases and pay some annual fees, over $7,000 of the almost $8,000 raised will go directly to getting food into the hands of people who need it most. It was so important to set up organized programming and ensure that as an organization we are conducting ourselves in a manner that is consistent with how successful and well-supported entities operate. Now that much of that is behind us even more of our funds raised can go to getting food to people.
So what comes next? Grow Jackson is in the process of establishing our first program, “Fresh Food Distribution”. Through cooperative partnerships with local partners Grow Jackson will regularly rescue food from being thrown away and immediately get the food to organizations who can distribute it or get it to people directly. Now more than ever our response as a community needs to be robust and direct in the face of growing community food insecurity as a result of the economic effects of Covid 19. We are finalizing the last logistical challenges, and are still in search of reliable transportation for Grow Jackson to use but we are almost ready to start moving food. Our ability to get access to a truck with a trailer or a van will help us immensely so if you or anyone you know is willing to part with a reliable one for little to not cost to help an extremely worthwhile cause please be sure to contact us.
We have some big goals for 2021 including implementing at least two new community gardens in Jackson as well as assisting with other gardens operated by local partner organizations. The future is bright, but the need is great. If you supported us in 2020, I want to say “Thank You” on behalf of the entire board. Your support inspires us every day and with your help we can rise to the challenge ahead of us. Meeting the basic needs of everyone in our community, especially those who are most vulnerable, takes many organizations and passions and still we fall short. However, with your continued support we will continue to work to ensure that fewer and fewer people fall through the cracks. The Grow Jackson Mission Statement starts, “To end food insecurity for Jackson residents…”. We all know that is a lofty goal. Reaching zero hungry people in Jackson may feel like a difficult or impossible goal. It will be hard. However, we also know that it is a worthy goal and we believe that access to fresh healthy food is a human right. For all the ways you have supported that work, and supported the efforts we make to strive towards a community where food insecurity is a distant memory, I want to again say thank you.
If you donated last year and have decided that you would like to donate to our mission on a recurring monthly basis that option can be found on our Donate option on our homepage. Simply select an amount or enter one of your own, and then check the “Make It Monthly” box and you will support the efforts of Grow Jackson in the future. If you are interested in supporting us with a one time gift to start the year that option is also available by mailing a check to our office or donation at the same link.
We are grateful, we are passionate, and we are inspired to keep going. On behalf to the entire Grow Jackson Board of Directors I want to say thank you and Happy New Year. There is much to be done in 2021 and we cannot wait to get started.
-Jacob Inosencio, Board President