Looking back and moving forward: Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ 12th birthday

January 28, 2022 Updated: January 18, 2024

By Ashley Stanley, Founder & Executive Director of Lovin’ Spoonfuls

It’s a new year. Again. And even so, I can’t quite tell if it feels that way. In technical terms, 2022 marks the twelfth year in business for Lovin’ Spoonfuls. It will serve as the year we attempt to ‘take a breath,’ steady ourselves, and pursue some of the projects we had planned for our tenth year, which coincided with 2020. The past two years have felt simultaneously suspended and dynamic, leaving me somewhere between optimistic and apprehensive. But let’s go with optimistic.

This year we’re finally embarking on a strategic plan. This was something that was on our minds before Covid. The ‘plan’ was that, as the company celebrated its first 10 years and then waded into the next, a strategic plan would help us step back, take stock, and move intentionally into our next decade. Of course, there was a different plan for us all – and 2020 took its course with an intersection of a badly needed social reckoning and a terrifying pandemic. Needless to say, all plans went ‘on hold’ as we were challenged to face both realities. And now that ‘new reality’ has become the ‘reality,’ perhaps we’re in a better position to try and plan.

Part of our aim is to shift a bit as we continue to grow. Responding to the pandemic and social reckoning over the past two years has actually helped us cement some of our goals. We’ve become more proactive in our geographic expansion, focusing on communities where there is both unmet need and opportunity for Spoonfuls to support it. We’ve taken intentional, purposeful steps toward greater community focus and representation. And we’ve remained committed to our mission and focused on our core service. Over the last 12 years, we have been energized to see that ‘food rescue’ has become more of a household term. Folks are becoming aware of what they’re buying and how to conserve what they already have. We’ve seen our community of food businesses, social service agencies, supporters, and financial contributors bring this work into their core values and involve our team in their sustainability goals. 

Along with future opportunities, we look to our time in business – 2020 and 2021 in particular – as our guide. While most companies found that adaptability meant a shift and – dare I say it – “pivot” in daily operations, it was much more internal for us. I had my Senior Leadership Team step back and truly consider what Spoonfuls needed.  We came up with changes to the way we work: from everything from specific ‘pods’ for our Food Rescue Coordinators during the height of COVID, to a hybrid work model that will continue beyond the pandemic, to creating ancillary boards as a platform for influence from the communities we serve, to an overhaul of our hiring practices. These elements – which you’ll hear more about in future articles by Spoonfuls’ Chief Operating Officer, Lauren Palumbo, and Senior Director of Development, Erin Keohane – have helped us set a course forward with a level focus on what’s next. 

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. I intend to use what 2020 taught us as foresight.

Read more from Ashley Stanley on LinkedIn:
Why Wasted Apps Won’t Solve Wasted Food
Learning with Lovin’: Lessons learned and questions answered
Living and Leading with Purpose

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