It is finally 2021 – a new year filled with new opportunities. None of us can control what is going on around us; we can only control how we respond to it, so I am looking at 2021 through an optimistic yet pragmatic lens.

Last January, I blogged about making the most of 2020 by viewing the days as blank pages and writing the story that would become our year. There are probably not many of us who expected our stories would evolve the way they did. Last year was hard for many people. Our Foodbank averaged a 40% increase in the number of meals we provided, but we remained focused and hopeful because there were opportunities to strengthen and improve our communities every single day.

Although the calendar changed, many of the challenges we were working to address in 2020 still exist. While being optimistic that brighter days are ahead of us, our Foodbank is also resolute in our commitment to our communities, knowing that the journey to reach those brighter days will likely take much longer than any of us would prefer.  Hunger is still a genuine threat for hundreds of thousands of our neighbors across the bi-state region, many facing food insecurity for the first time as a result of COVID-19.  We are determined to provide access to meals and resources to everyone that needs them, but we can’t do it alone. You can make a huge difference in the lives of others while staying safe. There are many ways to get involved:

  • We still need volunteers to help us get food ready to distribute across our network of 26 counties in Illinois and Missouri.
  • We still need volunteers to write “hope notes” to go inside boxes of food given to seniors because small acts of kindness can make a huge difference.
  • We still need volunteers to help our partners (now over 600) around the bi-state region with contactless food distribution because no one should go to bed hungry this year.
  • We still need financial resources to support our ability to procure, store, and distribute nutritious food to people struggling to access it.

Again we are gifted 365 blank days that will become our 2021. I hope we can all build on the perspective, strength, and resilience that got us through 2020 to be part of the solutions 2021 can bring. How will you fill this year?