Happy New Year 2022!
This past year has been another challenging one, and I would like to take a moment to express Harbor Dish’s year-end appreciation to those who have helped us continue our mission. As we await an end to the public health crisis, our nation remains in a state of turmoil. Despite the stress and challenges of serving the public during a pandemic, we have not only continued our work in the community but have expanded to become a daily operation that continues to grow. And that is only because of our dedicated, courageous volunteers.
Harbor Dish Volunteers:
Our volunteers are simply the best, and we know that time is their most precious asset. Every day our volunteers strive to better our community through their passion for our mission. It has been truly inspiring to work with them seven days a week to ensure we serve those in need.
We appreciate the high standards and integrity of our partners. These organizations, businesses, and individuals are all devoted to making our community a better place to live and they are a joy to work with.
Our community partners include Whole Foods, Panera Bread, Olive Garden, Carrabba’s, Bassano Cheesecake, Fitlife Foods, Oldsmar Cares, Nature’s Food Patch, and First Presbyterian Church of Safety Harbor. These organizations are dedicated to eliminating food waste and food insecurity in our community. Harbor Dish cherishes these relationships we are better together!
For over a year, Bayside Community Church has kindly donated their commercial kitchen space for us to prepare meals for the community, and recently the church became the new permanent home for all of our operations. We are immensely grateful that Bayside has graciously partnered with us to expand our outreach in the community.
In 2021, we started a new partnership with the Harbor Bar. The “Taste of Community” serves mobile chef-prepared meals on a pay-what-you-can basis every Friday at the Harbor Bar. Each week Safety Harbor residents and others know they can count on a healthy, delicious meal. People can also choose to “pay it forward” and help provide dinner for someone else.
In 2021, the GFWC Clearwater Community Woman’s Club gave Harbor Dish a grant to purchase commercial refrigeration equipment. And funding from the City of Safety Harbor has helped with our expansion into the community through participation in more city-sponsored events. Pinellas Realtor Organization, Walmart, and Charles Rutenberg Realty also donated this year. Contributions from individual community members helped us purchase a commercial cargo van, which is the perfect vehicle for our mobile operations!
The Harbor Dish, Company, and Support Staff:
I am deeply grateful to have the opportunity to volunteer with a nonprofit that passionately supports and respects each individual while striving to create a stronger community. A community is much more than the people who live in a particular area; it is a group we can lean on when we need love, support, and encouragement.
As we celebrate our ninth anniversary, our growth is inspiring. Harbor Dish was created in a residential kitchen where volunteers made healthy, organic soup for our community. We now use a commercial kitchen and serve over 1,500 meals per week. We also distribute more than 200,000 pounds of food a year, which is the equivalent of 167,000 meals! Our food delivery program is in its second year bringing food to our seniors, sick or homebound.
Our volunteer staff and board members are equally dedicated to fulfilling our mission, both personally and professionally. Each one is smart, engaged, hard-working, and filled with a “can-do” attitude. They have amazing backgrounds; indeed, we are a bunch of do-gooders with huge hearts! Harbor Dish is comprised of caring, local individuals, and our grassroots involvement with other nonprofit organizations and government entities helps us relate to the needs of our community.
I am grateful for family, friends, and my successful career as a realtor. My involvement with Harbor Dish enables me to see the very best in people as they, through their commitment, work to improve the lives of others in our community. This year I was awarded the “Good Neighbor” award from the National Realtor Association and Harbor Dish was featured on Bay News 9, on the marquee at Times Square in NYC, and in various national newspapers, and on radio stations. We have been so blessed with recognition across the country!
In 2022, I look forward to a year filled with energy and excitement, where we not only continue to feed the need of hunger but also the need to be part of a caring community! To do this we will need a team of lead volunteers who can take ownership of an aspect of our operations. Maybe one of our projects really speaks to you and you’d like to take responsibility. Please consider volunteering with us and have a seat at our table.