For the first time since its incorporation as a nonprofit, the Anne Arundel County Food Bank has revised its mission and vision statements to help govern decision-making over the coming years. This move comes as the organization prepares to launch its inaugural three-year strategic plan at the beginning of 2023, guiding its future activity and direction.
Since 1989, the mission of the Anne Arundel County Food Bank has read: “To fight hunger by assuring that all those in need, especially children, have access to food and other resources.”
As part of the year-long strategic plan development process, the leadership at the Anne Arundel County Food Bank set out to refine how to share their purpose with language that better reflects the current state of their work in the community. The Anne Arundel County Food Bank’s board, staff, and key volunteers came together throughout the past year to consider the elements of strong mission and vision statements.
The team at Anne Arundel County Food Bank is always mindful of how they treat, think about, and share information regarding the people they serve in our community. The resulting mission and vision statements focus on updated language and terminology to read:
To alleviate food insecurity in Anne Arundel County by partnering across our community to obtain and distribute nourishing food to our neighbors in need.
All Anne Arundel County residents are free from food insecurity through regular access to nourishing food.
Some fundamental changes include focusing on food insecurity instead of hunger. These terms are not interchangeable. “Hunger” is a broad and imprecise term used to describe a physical and emotional condition that ranges from easily remedied to utterly all-consuming. “Food insecurity” is the condition of not having access to sufficient food, or food of adequate quality, to meet one’s basic needs. Food insecurity can take many forms, from people staring at empty kitchen cabinets, skipping meals, or purchasing low-quality foods to fill their stomachs to making the heartbreaking decision between paying for medications or buying food for their families.
Another key change is using the word “neighbor” to describe best the individuals Anne Arundel County Food Bank (AACFB) serves. AACFB invites community members to join them in speaking of anyone who is food insecure in our community as your neighbor.
“Respect and dignity are central to how we deliver services and how we share the story of food insecurity in Anne Arundel County,” said Leah Paley, Chief Executive Office of the AACFB. “Going forward, these changes are in alignment with our peer institutions in the state and across the country.”
The mission and vision will guide the three overarching goals of the strategic plan, which include,
- strengthening its food distribution program,
- supporting systems-level change to reduce food insecurity, and
- ensuring organizational sustainability and operational excellence.
The complete three-year strategic plan will be unveiled in February 2023.
As the pandemic and high inflation challenges remain for under-resourced neighbors, the AACFB is proud to roll out its new mission and vision statements as the organization continues to adapt, grow, and strengthen its operations.