2021 Letter from the Director: Challenges met with collaboration and creativity

This letter from Executive Director Nicki Ross appeared in Table to Table’s Impact Report for fiscal year 2021.

When I think of this past year and the challenges it presented, I keep coming back to an overwhelming sense of gratitude; gratitude to you, the staff, volunteers, and each of our partners. It’s also difficult to summarize a year that feels like a decade, but I’m going to try. Two gleaning volunteers harvest radishes

We have learned a lot in our 25 years of operation, yet this year highlighted the challenges we face in fighting food insecurity. Most notably, how the inequalities in our food system are underpinned by structural racism and social inequality. It is a stark reminder that this crisis existed long before the pandemic and that food waste is inextricably linked to equity. As you’ll read in this report, in partnership with the incredible hunger relief network, we found even more ways to reclaim resources and increase food access. 

Partnerships are the foundation that enable us to act quickly, expand, and diversify the ways we meet the changing needs of our community. We found new sources for our most requested foods and delivered more of these resources to the agencies that are on the front lines of a once-in-a-generation national hunger crisis. In a year when food was scarce and the need was greater than ever, Johnson County food pantries distributed more pounds of food per person than in the previous two years. 

T2T volunteer distributes produce at a pop-upOur community understood that the first priority during a crisis is to make sure people are fed. Our daily work was made to do exactly this, feed our neighbors. To do this, we lean heavily on the collective power of people. You fueled our response – you are why, despite continued uncertainty, we’re in a position to serve our community for the months and years ahead.

Let me express one more time gratefulness for our T2T team and the staff and volunteers of all our partners who work tirelessly. Their commitment was unbowed by the sustained adversity of this year. Their work, guided by their hearts, their creativity, and courage allowed us to innovate and lead. I am incredibly proud to see them do what sometimes seems impossible.

Nicki Ross
Executive Director

Read our full Impact Report for fiscal year 2021