Happy New Year one and all!  It is funny – this year there seems to be more memes and gifs about 2022 than I can remember. However, instead of being welcoming and excited about the future, they were more cautionary, less optimistic, and to be frank- sounded pretty blah. Now, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its iterations have taken a toll.  Physically, financially, mentally – this pandemic has certainly created enough reasons for someone to be less than optimistic – however, as I reflected on what was going to be my “word” for 2022, the word that kept coming to mind was simple: change.

Not change in the form that many people think of – I am not talking about making resolutions that undoubtedly will be broken by the end of the week, or drastic changes that sound amazing and ambitious, but are so clearly out of reach they are destined to fail. I am talking about being the change – as Mahatma Gandhi referred to.

What if, instead of working so hard to prepare for the unpredictable, we instead try to be a catalyst for positive change. We can change our mindset from a place of uncertainty, fear, or even anxiety about what may or may not happen, to instead a mindset of leaning in. This shift will allow us to focus on being the positive change that we want to see in the world, allowing us to take small steps to help make the world, or at least our corner of it, a little better and brighter for everyone.

2022 is going to be an incredible year for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. I could not be prouder of our team, and their incredible compassion and commitment to our community and one another.  This year we will roll out our new strategic plan, an aggressive plan that aims to challenge the hunger relief system as we know it, and really plan for systemic, long-term, and lasting positive change. There is that word again- change.

We didn’t create this new plan just to publish something new, but rather, because we have learned and grown as an organization, especially over the past 24 months, and we have taken this lemon called COVID, and the incredible generosity, insights, and feedback from our partners, volunteers, donors, and other businesses and non-profit organizations to proactively construct a plan to create the positive change we want to see in our community – to nourish, empower and transform our community.

Just like anything, the changes we are going to implement will not happen instantly. Real, lasting change takes time, commitment, leadership, support, and an understanding that we may even make some mistakes- but we can learn from those mistakes quickly.  We are committed to being a catalyst for this change because of our love for the 26 counties we serve, our commitment to everyone that makes this work possible, and the lives that are changed as a result. If any team can do this, it is the team here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

We look forward to sharing these plans, goals, and ways that you can join us on this new trajectory in the weeks to come. Until then, from all of us to all of you – we wish you a happy and healthy New Year filled with small steps every day to create opportunities in your own lives to be the change you wish to see in the world.