Sunday, January 28, 2018

Greetings of peace. As many of you know, the Shrine has many social justice ministries. The biggest and most active one is the Franciscan Food Center. It provides groceries to 450 needy families every week. The Food Center works in close partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and the source of a large percentage of the food distributed at the Shrine.

The Franciscan Food Center enjoys a terrific reputation and is always one stop of any tour that we give of the Shrine. The project of bringing in, storing, and distributing that much food is not a simple one. The Center is managed by Mary Ann Ponti, the Shrine’s Director of Outreach Programs.

Earlier this month we received our annual report card from GBFB. It evaluates all of the agencies which purchase food from them. Some of the criteria include amount of storage space, amount food distributed, amount of fresh produce, convenience of hours, frequency of client contact, and amount of client choice.

Some of the numbers reported by GBFB:

In terms of grades, out of a 157 possible points, the average agency scored 66. The Shrine scored 127 (not that we are competitive or anything like that). That score of 127 puts us in the top ten percentile of agencies working with GBFB, and give us “Strategic Partner” status with them. Last year we distributed 279,379 pounds of GBFB food from the Shrine, including 90,476 pounds of fresh produce.

Congratulations to Mary Ann Ponti and our terrific group of 30 Franciscan Food Center volunteers. Thank you so much for all of your good work on behalf of the needy families of Boston.


Thomas Conway, OFM
Executive Director