Pantry News Bites

A Farewell

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 After being involved with the Pantry almost since its inception, Jill Shaw stepped down from her role as Pantry Coordinator at the beginning of the year. Jill was a tremendous repository of knowledge about Daily Bread's history and helped not just me but several other former Presidents get their arms around running the Pantry. It is not an overstatement to say that the current robust health of Daily Bread is very much built on foundations laid over many years by Jill.  On behalf of everyone at the Pantry, I would like to thank Jill for her hard work and wish her and husband Greig the very best for the future.

Tag Sale

Sale

As everyone knows, space at the Pantry is at a premium, especially now we have to hold inventory for record numbers of visitors. Time to do a little early spring cleaning! So if you are in the market for some storage bins of one sort or another, or some canopy tents (NOT our fancy green Colemans, the smaller white ones that have admittedly seen better days), let's talk! Other items:

  • Assorted baskets

  • A fine wooden ramp (built by Jill's husband) designed to slide boxes down stairs but could be repurposed for many other applications

  • A Mr Heater propane-fired space heater that is serviceable but doesn't work quite as well for our purposes as the blower units we are currently using

  • A water cooler thing that may or may not work

No reasonable offer refused! We might even accept completely unreasonable offers if we can unload the stuff.

Serving Seniors Better Initiative

Open For Business

Although it seems like a lifetime ago, we didn't always pre-pack bags and do all distributions outside. Pre-pandemic, visitors to Daily Bread could come into the building and "shop" for food they chose themselves. In many ways, this was a much more desirable model, but it is completely unrealistic with our current numbers and the lingering threat of yet another COVID wave.

In addition to more dramatic options, we have been looking at ways to offer at least some guests that "shopping" experience.  More particularly, we'd like to dip our toes back in the water with an appointment-based system that would allow a limited number of our senior guests to visit the Pantry during donation hours. The plan would be to start small - perhaps allowing only one guest every fifteen minutes or so on just one donation day.

Even on that scale, we'd need a few more volunteers "on the bench" to help staff these sessions. Tentatively, we are thinking of Wednesday for the trial, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM. If you are interested in volunteering for this initiative, please let Marybeth know. And thank you!

Distribution Happenings

It's never a dull moment at a Daily Bread distribution, something that is not always easy to capture in a photograph.  Until I can sell the rights to a sitcom development (or even a Major Motion Picture), you'll have to make do with a few random pictures dragged up from my phone. Click on any image to expand and get a little more background.

Housekeeping Notes

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My favorite subject again! I know I am occasionally guilty of forgetting to do so myself, but signing in (and ideally out) on the iPad is super-important for a variety of reasons. In addition to keeping track of who is in the Pantry when I'm not there (safety!), many grant applications want data on volunteer hours and this is the only semi-reliable way to track that metric.  Also, COVID may have another trick up its sleeve so the contact-tracing aspect of signing in still has tremendous value.

On top of all that, the sign-in app can help collect other useful information - like who has completed the Civil Rights Training, for example. I realize in the past the screens can be a little difficult to navigate, especially for those who are not native English speakers, but now there is support for lots of languages (just click on the US flag in the top right for the ones currently enabled.). For the rest of you, the default is still (American) English  :  )

Thank you!

Daily Breadle

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I like words, so the viral Wordle game was like crack cocaine to me.  It was also written in very accessible code, so even a late-in-life programming learner like me could make the small changes needed to customize it. And so I present to you... Daily Breadle! Give it a whirl just to humor me!

I should note that one beta tester (thank you Marybeth!) encountered an issue with not being able to access the server from her home network - so I'm throwing this out very much as a prototype and there is some chance it will not work for you. Do let me know if you encounter issues.

For the more techie-minded,  you may be interested to know that the game is hosted on a $35 Raspberry Pi microcomputer - a food-centric game obviously had to run on either that or an Apple - and the amount of traffic anticipated seemed to make an Apple computer kinda overkill.  Of course, there are drawbacks to not using a third-party host, not least that uptime will be compromised by the vagaries of Eversource and Comcast. But hey, it's just a bit of fun.

Like Wordle, the game is NOT an app - it is simply a website built with HTML, CSS and javascript and is available at https://breadle.us. I suspect Marybeth's issue was a router configuration that made the "us" TLD suspect - it is little used even though it is the country-level domain of the  United States.  I am using it because, well, it was the cheapest one to purchase ($12). I have a reputation to keep up.  If you would like an app-like experience, simply add the website icon to your homescreen.

Anyway, it was a fun project so I will not be too bent out of shape if no-one does play. If you don't like computer games, but do like words, feel free to suggest appropriately themed words to me (unlike Wordle, Breadle's word list will remain fluid). There is a convenient feedback button you can access by clicking the gear icon in the game site header.  Or if you are really old school, write me a letter.