Another View: Thomas Blonski: In 2012, NH Catholic Charities achieved the 'impossible'
At this time of year, I find myself reflecting, both personally and professionally, on the wins and losses over the previous 12 months. I think about how well the various programs of New Hampshire Catholic Charities have served our neighbors in need and how we've honored the dignity of each individual who comes to our proverbial door. This is my way of taking inventory of the many ways New Hampshire Catholic Charities has made a positive impact over the previous calendar year. My admiration grows every day for the hundreds of volunteers, staff, supporters and community partners that share their time and talents to make it all happen.
This year, I find myself particularly proud of the progress New Hampshire Catholic Charities has made and the success we will soon celebrate as we close the chapter on our Capital Campaign for the New Hampshire Food Bank, our largest program. As part of our final effort to raise the funds required for the new Food Bank facility, we launched the Mission Possible Challenge in July. Simply put, we needed to raise $700,000 by the end of 2012 to receive $350,000 in challenge funds. Why does this challenge stand out as part of our Capital Campaign? Because there were those, albeit only a handful, who thought that raising $700,000 in fewer than six months could never be done. Few would dispute that it was an ambitious goal, but impossible? Not in New Hampshire!
Just by virtue of the challenge name, "Mission Possible," we forged ahead with a positive attitude, a strategic plan and a lot of faith in the generous spirit of Granite State communities. As we come to the end of the year, we look forward to celebrating a fundraising milestone when we accept a highly anticipated "matching" donation of $350,000 from four generous community partners.
Reflecting on the path we've taken to achieve such an end, I humbly recognize that it took thousands of volunteer and staff hours to engage more than 1,000 donors throughout our state to support the Capital Campaign on behalf of the New Hampshire Food Bank. As we conclude this campaign in the next few months, I hope that those who have not yet given will consider contributing to this incredible effort. The Food Bank supports 415 food pantries and programs throughout the state and every gift, in essence, helps to supply food to someone near you.
In 2012, the New Hampshire Food Bank is on track to feed more than 143,000 men, women and children through participating food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens. That means distributing 9 million pounds of food throughout the state (a 37 percent increase in just two years). Because of the new, expanded facility, the Food Bank now has the capacity to focus on developing innovative food distribution options; to expand programs that address the root causes of hunger and to keep pace with ever-increasing demand.
When I reflect on our organization's accomplishments in 2012, one important lesson stands out from the rest, and that is: Never say never. The contributions of those who have already given, along with your gift to this campaign, prove that New Hampshire has always been about neighbor helping neighbor. To give, please go to www.nhfoodbank.org and click on Mission Possible Challenge.
Thomas Blonski is president and CEO of New Hampshire Catholic Charities.