Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Inc.

Feeding Families Since 1991

Lowell, MA   |  www.mvfb.org

Mission

The mission of the Merrimack Valley Food Bank (MVFB) is to help meet a person's most profound need for adequate nutrition and freedom from hunger. Through our partnerships and collaboration with poverty and anti-hunger non-profit organizations, MVFB addresses barriers that prevent low to moderate income families and individuals from accessing healthy food; engages the community to join our mission; and works to bring about economic change by providing low-income individuals and families with resources to improve their economic situation. Only through cooperative efforts can society initiate change, develop strategies to alleviate hunger and work toward improving the quality of life for all people.

Ruling year info

1993

Principal Officer

Ms. Amy Pessia

Co Principal Officer

Debbie Callery

Main address

PO Box 8638

Lowell, MA 01853 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

22-3241609

NTEE code info

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

Food Banks, Food Pantries (K31)

Food Service, Free Food Distribution Programs (K30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

According to Project Bread's 2015 Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts, the statewide poverty level remains unchanged since 2010 despite the general economic recovery. 4.1% of Massachusetts citizens face 'very low food security,' meaning that they frequently lack sufficient food for themselves and their families. The cost of living in Massachusetts has outpaced the incomes of many workers. Minimum wage is not sufficient to meet all of a family's basic needs, so access to supplemental food provided by food pantries is essential. The need for supplemental food in the organization's region remains high, evidenced by the increased numbers of individuals seeking food, the number of agencies establishing pantries or meal programs, and the increasing number of pounds of food distributed by MVFB. Last fiscal year the organization added seven new member agencies to receive services, expanding its service area to 47 communities.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Food Distribution

The Food Distribution Program is the largest of our programs, in which we acquire, manage, and distribute food from the state and federal emergency food assistance programs, foods donated by the community, and that which is purchased with grant funds. These food sources are accessed in our Food Distribution Center in Lowell,  MA by our member agency programs (pantries and meal programs) in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  These agencies in turn distribute the food to individuals and families who are struggling to afford food. It also serves as the primary source of food for MVFB’s other programs.
 
Food is distributed to pantries and meal programs based on the number of people they serve. The distribution center is open three days a week for agencies to access food. Each agency is assigned a designated day to pick up food from our distribution center.Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program(MEFAP) and USDAThe Emergency Food Assistance Program(TEFAP) foods are free to eligible agencies. Agencies may see the availability of foods in stock on our website. Our warehouse staff receive deliveries and picks up donations daily throughout the region.
 
New organizations interested in acquiring food from MVFB’s Food Distribution Program submit a written application along with proof of non-profit status, board of health compliance, and must confirm that the food will be distributed to those in need at no charge regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or disability. We conduct a site visit to ensure that the applicant’s facility satisfies all criteria. Once accepted, an agency will be permitted to shop at MVFB’s distribution center for donated foods which are available for a shared maintenance fee of $0.16 per pound (to help offset transport and storage costs). Most members are eligible to receive USDA and MEFAP food free of charge and may continue to purchase the donated foods. All agencies may purchase the donated foods based on availability.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Mobile Pantry addresses the critical need of maintaining good health of the homebound low income elderly and disabled in Greater Lowell. Volunteers deliver nutritious supplemental foods and health information monthly to help clients develop healthy eating habits, reduce and or prevent food insecurity to maintain a better quality of life.
 
The program was adopted by the MVFB in 2003, after operating with support M/A-COM employees in Lowell, MA.  The program was designed to help homebound elderly and disabled individuals at risk of food insecurity and unable to get to food pantries and meal programs due to frailty or illness.  M/A-COM was sold to another company, that no longer supported employees to fund the program through payroll deduction, conduct food drives and deliver groceries on company time. The program was enthusiastically absorbed by MVFB, and volunteers continue to deliver food to and visit each recipient monthly since 2004.
The program is managed by a full-time director, two part-time staff, and more than 60 volunteers who package and deliver food to each client’s home based on individual health requirements. In FY 2017 325 enrolled clients were served along with emergency delivers to residents in Lowell, Chelmsford, Billerica, Dracut, Tewksbury, and Tyngsboro. 
The Mobile Pantry is not a shopping service, but a means by which recipients can stretch their food dollars.We strive to provide the freshest and healthiest foods possible. Clients receive low-sodium and sugar-free products; fresh produce, dairy products, beverages, frozen meats, and canned goods as specified by their individual dietary requests. Clients receive approximately 35 pounds of food with which they can create up to 30 meals. Recipes, social services, health and nutritional information are put in the bags to help clients learn about proper eating and health related topics. Additional bags are delivered for seasonal holidays.

Population(s) Served
Seniors
People with physical disabilities

Operation Nourish addresses hunger of Lowell Public School children who are at risk of food insecurity on weekends and during school vacations. The focus is on schools with the highest percentage of students eligible for free or reduced USDA meals, as high as 92.5%. It is tailored to each school’s needs. Twice a month elementary students receive a bag of healthy snacks, non-perishable beverages, and ingredients for a family meal: canned tuna or chicken, rice or pasta, vegetables and fresh fruit when available.In the middle and high school the program delivers healthy snacks and beverages to the school nurse and social worker to offer students with hunger related complaints during the school day.The food is intended to supplement other sources a family has and offers the children who frequently go to school without breakfast and who may not eat regular meals outside of school the resources and food to give them strength to remain attentive to learn and develop healthy lifestyles.
 
In FY 2013 we added two additional schools; more than 600 students benefited from receiving either a bag of food twice a month or enjoyed a healthy snack or beverage at school. 506 students in six schools are participating.  As the year progresses, we will add more as funding is available.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Students

Where we work

Awards

Affiliations & memberships

Chamber of Commerce 2012

The Grantsmanship Center (TGCI)

Associated Grant Makers

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Pounds of food distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of member agency programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Average number of individuals served per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The decrease in 2020 reflects the departure of one large member agency. We continue to add new member agencies, and served nearly 70,000 people in November 2020.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The ultimate goal of MVFB is to eliminate hunger in Greater Lowell and the Merrimack Valley, ensuring that no member of its service area goes to bed hungry and that all have access to nutritious food.

To move towards this goal, MVFB's objectives for Fiscal Year 2018 are:
 ·Distribute at least 3.2 million pounds of food.
·Distribute food to at least 68,000 people monthly.
·Add five new member agencies to reach more individuals and families.
·Add three new corporate sponsors with employee volunteers, food donations, and/or fundraising activities.
·Continue to expand the organization's Community Awareness campaign to reach more people.
·Continue the search for a larger facility where MVFB staff could more efficiently operate the organization's programs.

In addition to our human resources or staff, volunteers and donors, we are fortunate to have physical assets including:
21,000 square foot warehouse with 1 large freezer walk in and 1 refrigerated room, 2 refrigerated trucks and a smaller truck, 2 electric pallet jacks, 1 electric fork truck, vertical lift; server and office computers, video surveillance system
Consistent Food Sources: USDA, MEFAP and donations from community partners, food manufacturers, and distributors
Our financial gifts have increased in line with the growing demand for emergency food assistance

As of the beginning of Q2, FY 2018, we have raised $300,000 of the nearly $1million is takes to serve families.  Our relationships with food and funding sources continue, and we constantly identify and engage new supporters.  Food is a basic need, and most people realize that it's required in order to do anything and everything.  We are anxious to identify and begin campaigning for a new facility in which to distribute food more efficiently.  The positive part is that we own our building, and it's structurally sound, being a turn of the 20th century former mill building.  We have one final opportunity to use currently under-utilized space that may be used to construct 2 offices and add a reception area.  Following that project, we will be at our maximum capacity.

Financials

Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. James Good

Retired, Lowell Regional Transit Authority

Term: 1993 - 2019

Steve Mallette

New England Medical Insurance Agency

Peter Mullin

Law Office of Peter J. Mullin

Linda Dawson

Lowell General Hospital

James Good

Ret. Lowell Regional Transit Authority

Tami Dristiliaris

Law Office of Tami Dristiliaris

Tony Wallace

Away From Home Sales - BoBo's Oat Bars

David Pelchat

Community Volunteer

Terry McCarthy

Lowell Sun Charities

George Anastas

Lowell Regional Transit Authority

Danielle McFadden

Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce

Deborah Belanger

Spectacle Management

Wendi Giuliano

Polka Dot Powerhouse

Hank Houle

Retired - Chelmsford Fire Department

Meaghan Lally-McGurl

Enterprise Bank

Vichtcha Kong

Washington Savings Bank

Tara Sek

Lowell Five Bank

Thomas "Doc" Daugherty

Eastern Bank

Ellen Andre

Community Volunteer

Susan Hannigan

Community Volunteer

Daniel Gillette

Rockland Trust

Amanda Clermont

Greater Lowell Health Alliance

Barbara Doud

Retired - UPS

Michael Lenzi

Lenzi's

Michael McCall

Assistant Town Manager - Chelmsford

Angela Strunk

Lowell General Hospital

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/28/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data