Q: How long have you been with Pine Street Inn?
A: I have been working at Pine Street for a total of 8 years: 5 years as the Clothing Coordinator in our Clothing Department, and 3 years as the Acquisition & Distribution Manager in the Food Service Department.
Q: What’s your biggest obstacle with feeding almost 3,000 meals a day to hungry people in Boston? What food is the most expensive?
A: Over the years, I have talked with many individuals who never realized how much food is used each day for our dinner service. Once they hear that it takes 175 pounds of meat, 200 pounds of starch and 150 pounds of vegetables each night to feed our guests, they really begin to understand the scope of how many are in need and how they can help.
As for the most expensive items: Produce items can be very expensive and market prices can be very unpredictable. We do rely on food drives to help collect other necessary items. We are always looking for schools, religious organizations and places of work to help run food drives and collect every day items such as spices, oil, sugar, rice, coffee and tea. These too are very costly.
Q: How is Lovin’ Spoonfuls helping you and your team feed these folks?
A: Since the first Lovin’ Spoonfuls delivery in late January, the Inn has received a consistent supply of fruits, fresh vegetables, cereals, breads and pastries which have been incorporated into production each day.
Q: What does the general public need to know about Pine Street and the work that you guys do?
A: Although the Inn provides shelter, food clothing, medical and job training to those who are in need, our ultimate goal is ending homelessness. Currently Pine Street owns and manages over 550 units in 32 sites throughout the greater Boston area where formerly homeless men and women now reside. Many of these residents have been on the streets for years, and now they have a pace to live and are also provided with a case manager who works closely with them on a comprehensive plan that encourages each individual to reach their potential.
The Inn also operates two social enterprise programs: Abundant Table, which is a congregate style meal service provider, and Boston Handywork, which is a building and maintenance program. The revenue generated from these programs helps to cover the job training expenditures and financially aids other program within the Inn.
Q: What’s been your “on the ground” observation about Lovin’ Spoonfuls since we started distributing to you at the end of January?
A: The great thing about Lovin’ Spoonfuls is your understanding of how “good and usable” foods can help those who are in need. Their staff does a great job in putting out the word to owners/managers of food stores that unsold foods don’t have to go to waste. Lovin’ Spoonfuls is willing to pickup these items, evaluate their freshness and usability and then distribute them to organizations such as Pine Street. Many items that Lovin’ Spoonfuls had delivered are items such as fruits, vegetables, breads and pastries which are used the same day.