We are extremely disappointed that this property no longer meets the operational needs of the Franklin Food Pantry (FFP). We are appreciative of the hundreds of hours of work spent exploring every possible avenue to successfully open the building as the Pantry’s new location. Not only have staff and our team of architects, builders, engineers, traffic consultant, legal services, and site planning experts worked tirelessly to vet potential solutions, the public also has been incredibly supportive of this endeavor.
After almost 18 months of work, we concluded that while 138 East Central was a viable option for FFP pre-pandemic, COVID-19 so drastically changed our operations and programming that the property no longer allowed us to fully meet the needs of our neighbors.
Some of the new programs that this property was challenged to support include:
- Curbside Distribution – shown to be incredibly important for our neighbors with health issues, mobility concerns, young children, constrained schedules etc.
- Home Delivery – critical for our most vulnerable neighbors facing chronic disease, cancer treatments, transportation limitations, and other situations that restrict travel
- Holiday Distributions – this program grew under COVID, adding a permanent Summer Distribution to augment the two winter distributions
We also faced logistical challenges on the site that would have limited the ability of our community to contribute through the food drives or our community donation bin – both of which are key aspects of our success. Finally, a number of discretionary site planning requirements became evident. Meeting these would have drastically and negatively impacted our services.
We are actively pursuing other options for a new Franklin Food Pantry site. The limitations of our current site remain, and our reach has expanded beyond what our current site can do. We are grateful to Rockland Trust for allowing us to continue to operate under their roof – our neighbors rely on us, and them, to access support during difficult times. What we learned through this process is valuable and will be applied to the next site. While this pivot is a temporary change in direction, the strategic decision to move to a new location has not wavered and the project has not lost steam.
For all of those who financially supported our new building campaign, rest assured that it is happening. For all of those who provided your expertise, letters of support, time on our various Committees and continue to be Ambassadors to what we do every day – thank you. We take that commitment to our mission very seriously and will achieve our goal of a new space.
In the meantime, we continue to serve those who need us. Food insecurity isn’t merely a physical struggle, but a social, mental and emotional burden that FFP tries to meet with kindness, grace and humility. We will continue serving, every day, without waver, while we work to secure our new home.