To Whom It May Concern,
I am the Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes, a Charlotte nonprofit which has served neighbors in crisis in Mecklenburg County since 1975. We feed more than 77,000 people a year through a network of 35 food pantries with approximately 4,000 volunteers. Thanks to Apparo, we are serving people facing food insecurity more efficiently than ever before.
We sought Apparo’s help because we had reached our maximum capacity with our outdated fax and phone-based client and pantry management system –and we could not afford the $50K cost of a new system.
We were using fax machines to communicate back and forth with each of our pantries to track daily client schedules and actual pantry use. Partners could refer families to us only by phone during call center hours. As a result, clients who sought help after call center hours or at an unscheduled time had a delay in receiving food for their families.
This system was time consuming, inflexible and allowed for human error which could also impact our pantry clients negatively, causing stress and limiting access to food. In order to grow and not only improve, but also increase our service to families in need, we needed a technology upgrade we could afford and maintain.
Apparo learned our technology needs, wrote a project plan and matched us with a volunteer team from The Comdyn Group to fulfill the plan. Apparo also facilitated the project throughout its course, ensuring we would receive an end-product that met our needs and was sustainable for our organization. The commitment contribution to Apparo was only $500.
Comdyn delivered “FishNet”, a secure 24/7 cloud-based, user-friendly client referral and real-time pantry management software solution which can grow with our organization over time.
As a result:
We are better at serving Charlotte’s hungry. Our pantries have access to an accurate system with the flexibility to serve clients who may miss their scheduled appointment due to work or childcare challenges. Referring partners have 24/7 access to our system and can direct a family requesting help at night to a pantry as soon as it opens in the morning. 50 families/month now receive after-hours referrals.
We are serving more of Charlotte’s hungry. More agencies are making more referrals to us because of our easy-to-access, accurate 24/7 online system.
We have critical tracking and reporting capabilities, delivering data needed for fundraising/grants and for planning. We can spot trends and work quickly to open pantries where needed most or increase capacity to serve more in areas of need.
We have decreased expenses:
- Eliminated our $1200 annual Bell Data expenses
- Minimized labor needed at call center with a 23% reduction in call volume
- Increased efficiency in pantry management -12.5 hours are saved weekly.
- Minimized time needed for training new volunteers and staff
Thanks to Apparo, we are better able to serve the hungry of Mecklenburg County, more quickly and compassionately putting food on so many more tables this very day.
Loaves & Fishes