Vermont food bank reflects on 2020 donation from DFA
Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA) is a food pantry that has been serving St. Johnsbury, Vt., since 1980. With the help of its 21 dedicated staff members, NEKCA feeds roughly 200 families per month.
Last year, DFA donated a new commercial-grade refrigerator to NEKCA through the DFA Cares Foundation. Since receiving that donation, the food pantry has been able to keep fresh dairy, produce and eggs on-site for families in need of assistance — a luxury that not all food pantries have access to.
“The donation was a true gift,” says Joy Ely, deputy director of NEKCA. “Our building is a very old, well, all of our buildings are very old, and these units are energy efficient, which has significantly cut the costs of utilizing electricity as well. So, it's been a huge benefit not only to our community, but to our organization.”
Having reliable, energy-efficient refrigeration not only saves NEKCA money in electricity bills, but also in repair costs and frees up funds for the food pantry to better serve its community. Before our donation, the previous refrigerator needed frequent maintenance — staff members say they felt nervous leaving food in the old unit in the event the refrigerator stopped working. Spoiling food is the worst-case scenario at any food pantry.
Receiving this gift has helped NEKCA live out its values and provide its clientele with a dignified shopping experience.
“People accessing a refrigeration unit that looks nice and is not run-down just adds another piece of shopping with dignity that I’m really grateful for” Joy says.
Receiving this gift has helped NEKCA live out its values and provide its clientele with a dignified shopping experience. People can feed their families with fresh dairy products out of a new, energy-efficient refrigerator, and the savings from the new refrigerator free up funds for the food pantry to better serve its community.
“I think one of the biggest things that I would like to get out there is that we are open to anyone and everyone,” Joy says. “Food insecurity doesn't have an image; it doesn't have a color; it doesn't have a gender — it doesn't have anything. It is struggling to put food on the table, or just a need to alleviate that concern. Our doors are always open.”