This is a fairly common time of year for people to think about the future and what they want to accomplish going forward. In doing so, it’s often a good idea to first ground yourself by looking back. What was your situation 5, 10 or 20 years ago? Chances are many people have accomplished more than they realize. Thinking this way may help inspire you to think bigger about your goals going forward.

This year, Loaves & Fishes celebrates its 35th anniversary of serving the community. From our start in a church basement serving eight families to our sizable facility serving nearly 5,000 families a year, our organization has come a long way. I would guess that nobody thirty-five years ago had any idea that we would be where we are today, providing all the healthy food (almost 4 million pounds last year) and delivering other programs that help people become more self-sufficient. In looking back, as the saying goes, we stand on the shoulders of giants – the many volunteers, donors, staff and others who have made an incredible impact on our organization and the community.

In looking forward, it’s only appropriate that our focus is to determine how best to make a significant and long-lasting impact on people in the community who are in need. Starting January 1 of this year, we have a new strategic plan in place. The core element of our strategic plan is to significantly impact families’ lives through food and programs that promote overall health and self-sufficiency. That’s a tall order, given the many aspects involved, but looking back gives us the perspective and confidence that we can accomplish big things. Looking back challenges us to make no small plans going forward. And of course, your incredible support makes it all happen.