Our partners at Stop & Shop and The Great American Milk Drive are holding a campaign this month in honor of National Dairy Month to generate awareness of the importance of drinking milk and to make milk donations to The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). On your weekly grocery trip this week to your local Stop & Shop, you can easily make a milk donation that will help a family in need.

Donating is simple and easy!

1. Head to the Stop & Shop dairy aisle
2. Grab a voucher to make a $4 donation
3. At checkout, hand your voucher to the cashier

That’s all it takes to provide someone in need with the #1 item requested by GBFB.

GBFB has a strong commitment to promoting healthy lives and healthy communities by providing access to the most high-nutrient and healthy foods, such as milk. Milk is one of the most in-demand items for GBFB and our clients, and we are always looking for donations. This is because it is an essential staple and efficient way for food insecure people to get the important nutrients they need, like calcium, vitamin D and potassium. These nutrients may help better manage your weight, as well as reduce your risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers.

Whether it’s protein to help build and repair the muscle tissue of active bodies or vitamin A to help maintain healthy skin, dairy products are a natural nutrient powerhouse. Those are just a few of the reasons that you should celebrate dairy not just in June, but all year long.

The Great American Milk Drive is a campaign that kicked off last year in partnership with Feeding America to generate awareness and increase food bank access to milk for food insecure individuals across our nation. So far, The Greater Boston Food Bank has distributed milk vouchers to purchase gallons of milk to over 4,000 individuals through our network of 550 member agencies.  Please help us increase this number by joining the campaign at your local Stop & Shop this week!

Learn more about The Great American Milk Drive and the need for more milk in our food bank system:

Together, we can End Hunger Here.

Catherine D'Amato 20th year at GBFB

Catherine D’Amato, President and CEO of The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), has been a leader in the nation’s food bank network for 35 years. 2015 marks her 20th year here at GBFB.

Under her leadership, GBFB has grown our distribution from almost 9 to more than 51 million pounds of food each year; increased the volume of fresh produce acquired to 25% of GBFB’s overall distribution; developed a stronger network of partner agencies, programs, funders, food donors, volunteers, government officials and advocates; cultivated a strong and dedicated Board; and built a committed Team who drive the mission to End Hunger Here every day.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, she led a capital campaign for the construction of the Yawkey Distribution Center, which has quadrupled GBFB’s capacity to 100 million pounds of food to help more of our neighbors throughout eastern Massachusetts. With Catherine’s guidance, vision and drive, GBFB is one the largest hunger relief organizations in New England, and one of the largest in the country today.

On Thursday, June 11, 2015, a group of GBFB’s supporters, friends and team members celebrated Catherine and her incredible tenure at GBFB. A video was produced in her honor in which her friends, family, board and team members spoke about Catherine and what makes her a great leader.

Catherine, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to End Hunger Here in eastern Massachusetts.

Kelly Sajous

If you have ever volunteered at The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), there is one person everyone remembers: Kelly Sajous. Kelly is GBFB’s Product Recovery Coordinator and he manages all 26,000 volunteers each year. Everyone recognizes Kelly for his amazing work and his personality. We picked his brain to learn more about the man behind all the volunteers.

Kelly was born in Haiti and grew up in New York City, where the majority of his family still lives. Kelly’s true passion is soccer and his dream was to play on the National Soccer Team. Soccer led him to Boston when he transferred to Wentworth University to play on their team and to study electrical technology. Kelly had to leave Wentworth to work to support to his family. He found work at Polaroid where he tutored colleagues and students in math – Kelly’s other passion has always been teaching people.

Kelly SajousIn 1996, Kelly left Polaroid to join Team GBFB. Then, GBFB looked very different, with a smaller warehouse and fewer volunteers. But, the mission was still the same: “End Hunger Here.” Each day, Kelly commutes nearly 2 hours to and from R.I. to GBFB. He endures the commute because he loves coming to work and engaging with GBFB’s dedicated volunteers. Every day, Kelly makes a difference in the lives of those in need by helping to make sure they have enough to eat. And, he makes a difference in the lives of GBFB’s volunteers by teaching them how they can make a difference. Plus, he is practically a celebrity here.

Kelly recounted a story of driving back from NYC after visiting family. He stopped at a coffee shop in CT and a police officer in line immediately exclaimed, “Kelly! Is that you!? Do you remember me?? I volunteered at GBFB with my wife a couple weeks ago!” The officer commended him for his great work and let him cut the line. This is not unusual. Our very own President and CEO, Catherine D’Amato, has been asked “Do you know Kelly?!” at events around the city. To many, Kelly is the face of GBFB.

When asked about a favorite experience, he shared how he loves working with the retirees from State Street and Gillette: “They just get it. They have more life experience so they truly understand what it means when they come here. They come in and don’t mess around; they get to work and work hard.” He also says he enjoys teaching younger generations, “When these young people come in, they don’t always understand what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. When I tell them that I recently found out one of my cousins gets food at one of our pantries, they realize it could be their brother, sister or family member struggling with hunger. They start to understand and it makes me feel great that I’m able to teach them about our work.”

If you are interested in volunteering at GBFB, and meeting Kelly, visit gbfb.org/volunteer. Just beware, we’ve heard Kelly tends to play some pranks with some “pet mice”

On Saturday, May 16th members of The Greater Boston Food Bank’s (GBFB) Kitchen Cabinet joined forces with other outstanding volunteers to sort product in our Yawkey Distribution Center. The Kitchen Cabinet is a group of young influential professionals who are dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support GBFB and the members of our community who are struggling with food insecurity.  Each year, the group holds volunteer days and social events that incorporate creative fundraising and awareness generating elements.

During the sorting day, Kitchen Cabinet co-chairs Matt Goehlert and Jen Reddy kept up the team’s moral as the group sorted over 6,000 pounds of food, which is enough to provide 5,000 healthy meals to those in need and to make a difference in the lives of many GBFB relies on more than 26,000 volunteers a year, saving GBFB $1 million in labor costs each year.

“It had been at least a year since I sorted food at the Food Bank.” Matt explained, “It was great to see so many Kitchen Cabinet members take time out of their Saturday to come sort food. Being there with familiar faces made the experience more rewarding because we were there to build relationships and give back to a great organization.”

Team GBFB thanks our Kitchen Cabinet group for their time and dedication!

Are you interested in becoming a Kitchen Cabinet member or sponsoring a Kitchen Cabinet event? Contact Carlen Singmaster at csingmaster@gbfb.org @Gr8BosFoodBank

After 11 years of holding our annual fundraising Banquet, this year The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) decided to switch things up and held our first Greater Boston Food Festival. The transition was largely made possible by our Presidential Sponsor, EMC, and Chair, Jeremy Burton, President of Product Sales and Marketing at EMC. EMC has been a dedicated supporter of GBFB and was looking for a way to get more involved. When Jeremy realized that he not only could chair the fundraiser, but also provide creative resources, it was a no-brainer. He was in. He quickly brought in the EMC events team and VDA productions to help produce the unique evening.

Many months of planning went by and finally, on the evening of April 29th, GBFB hosted their first annual ‘Festival’. The evening was crafted to highlight the warehouse space where 52 million pounds of food a year is distributed from each year and their network of 550 member agencies throughout eastern Massachusetts. Instead of a traditional sit down dinner, guests walked around to experience the space, while mingling and networking. Guests were entertained by jugglers, magicians, a singing quartet and artists, while enjoying a variety of food including a build-your-own-burger, Asian noodle, tossed salad and mini-pizza stations. As guests walked among the warehouse racks, lounges were set up dedicated to the evening’s sponsors, including EMC, Stop & Shop, Joanna and Nigel Travis, Fedex, Roche Bros., Atlantic Vision, Bank of America, Amy and Joshua Boger, Citizens Bank, The Cutler Family, Openview, Shaw’s Star Market, State Street, TJX, BJ’s, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and Tracy and brad Stevens, John E. Core, Kekst and Company, ModusLink and Wegmans.

Interactive fundraising activities created some friendly competition! Our warehouse truck bays were open with GBFB trucks in position — attendees funded pallets of healthy food for anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000 to fill the trucks. Also, a CANstruction art installation was created throughout the evening. Guests helped to fund the completion of the structure by purchasing cans for $50 – $250. Each guest who contributed to fundraising efforts received a light up bracelet – by the end of the evening the warehouse was a sea of glowing bracelets as everyone came together to help End Hunger Here.

The night was a huge success and through the generosity of area businesses and committed individuals, the Festival set a new record, raising $1.22 million, enough to provide more than 3,600,000 meals to our neighbors in eastern Massachusetts who are facing hunger. Thank you to our friends, supporters and donors for making our first annual Festival a fun and successful night!