Branford Food Pantry
30 Harrison Ave.
Branford CT 06405
Contact Information
Address 30 Harrison Ave.
Branford, CT 06405-
Telephone (203) 481-3663 x
Fax 203-208-0630
Web and Social Media
The mission of the Branford Food Pantry is to provide groceries to families in need.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1978
Former Names
Branford Food Council Inc.
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Wendy Cowles President
Board Chair Ms. Wendy Cowles
Board Chair Company Affiliation Volunteer
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
The mission of the Branford Food Pantry is to provide groceries to families in need.
We have been serving the Branford community for over 34 years. After several moves from garages and basements, we now operate out of the Town's Volunteer Services Center at 30 Harrison Ave. We have storage, freezers, refrigerators and space for client choice food selection as well as an overflow storage shed for major food drives.
The Branford Food Pantry was started by churches that continue to play an important, but not exclusive, role in our current operation. We are a 100% volunteer operation with no salaries; thus we are very efficient.
1. Helped an average of 166 different families a month ( about 498 people) and over 250 different families for the year.
2. Distributed an average of 19,871 pounds of food/month and 238,452 pounds for the year.
3. Provided 170,400 meals for the year.
4. Deliver complete turkey dinners for Thanksgiving and Christmas to about 230 families each holiday.
5. Gave out 4,875 dozen eggs.
Goal: To continue to meet all the needs of struggling families and improve the nutritional content of the food provided.
1. Cash to purchase supplemental food beyond what is obtained from the CT Food Bank and local food drives. Low cost food from the CT Food Bank has been reduced from about 12,000 per month in 2005 to about 7,000 this year. Most of the balance has to be purchased.
2. Periodically we lose a key volunteer(s) and need to recruit new help.
CEO Statement
We have none. See the statement below from our president.
Board Chair Statement
In 1986, my mom asked me to come and help her pack groceries for the Food Council (now the Branford Food Pantry). When we gave a woman a box of saltines she was thrilled because her children hadn't had "cookies" for so long.  I began to see the need in this community. When I helped my dad deliver Thanksgiving groceries I saw areas of town that I didn't know were so broken down with people being in such need.
Since then I have been involved in every aspect of this organization from packing, ordering, purchasing, and checking groceries to helping establish new ways of doing things. For example, helping to establish the client choice and reusable bags programs we are now using. I even helped with the demolition in the old building to get this new facility.
I remember a family of four, with two small children, who came in for the first time. We were giving out canned hams that week along with the other foods. I mentioned to the mother that they were lucky because we usually don't have the canned hams. She responded smiling, "That is okay, at least we will eat today."
During the distribution of turkey dinners for Thanksgiving, our high school volunteers brought the food to the door of an elderly woman. When they handed her the food she stood there and cried.
In this country of such wealth and resources there is no reason people, especially children, should be allowed to go to bed hungry. So for the past 24 years I have been working to help get and give groceries to those in need.
Wendy Cowles, President
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Food, Agriculture & Nutrition / Food Banks, Food Pantries
Areas Served
Families seeking assistance must be residents of the Town of Branford, CT, 06405.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments
See above from the president  who is the senior officer.
We provide groceries to families in need. After being qualified by the Branford Counseling Center, families may obtain food one day a week; the amount of food allowed is proportional to family size; they select what they like from a container rack and then are given butter/meat from our refrigerators and can select bakery goods and fresh fruits and vegetables as available. Food is taken home for preparation. For example, a family of four is allowed about 60 lbs. of food per week.  In addition to this we have also started supplying snacks for kids that can be taken to school.
Population Served Families / /
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.
We have met every need and turned away no family qualified for help. For some, it keeps the family fed while looking for work or while recovering from an injury. Help with food costs allows limited family funds to be used for utilities, rent and other needs where help may not be available.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
Our program has been in operation for 32 years and we have progressed through several operation sites to our present location in the town's Volunteer Services Center. Management has become more sophisticated and this has allowed us to continue to serve those families needing help even as that number expands and the economy has become difficult. Fund raising has been expanded, more stores are participating with donations or discout sales, food drives are encouraged and volunteers have been recruited as needed for the all volunteer effort.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
This is a simple program, we provide food for those families who need it. Thanks and comments from clients let us know how we are doing. Since adopting client choice some two years ago, they now take what they like so there is no waste and resources are extended.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Two years ago we served 129 families per month and last year we were able to help 151 families per month. It is not unusual for a new family to say that now they can eat.
Program Comments
CEO Comments
Operating an all volunteer organization has its challenges due to no full time professional help to pursue opportunities or to formalize practices. However, we have been fortunate in obtaining enough mostly retired professionals to manage the operation through 33 years while conserving financial resources for food purchasing. Our overhead is very low thus we are very efficient. Our members participate because they have a passion for the cause.
There are two basic challenges:
1. As national food supplies reaching food banks decrease we must encourage more local food drives and make more retail purchases to cover any shortfall. For example, in 2005 we obtained 146,100 lbs. of food from the Connecticut Food Bank vs an estimated 88,732 lbs. for 2012 while the average number of families served per month increased from 118 to 154.
2. The volunteer base is mostly retired folks. We constantly lose people to infirmity so recruiting is continuous. We now have board representatives from the Lions Club and Alcoa-Howmet Corp. so their resources can help in a crisis. The local churches are also engaged and assist in finding necessary help.
CEO/Executive Director
Ms. Wendy Cowles President
Term Start Feb 2007
A registered nurse who has been with the Branford Food Pantry for 25 years, performing all the tasks.
Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 45
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 0%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 0
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 0
Female 0
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs and Terms
Mr. Peter DeBono Feb 2001 - Jan
Mr. Jay Webb Feb 2003 -
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation No
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation No
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
United Way of Greater New Haven2007
United Way of Greater New Haven2008
Board Chair
Ms. Wendy Cowles
Company Affiliation Volunteer
Term Feb 2011 to Jan 2012
Board of Directors
Mrs. AnnMarie Ammann volunteer
Mrs. Dorothy Bjork volunteer
Ms Maria Cusano
Mrs. Dru Dodd volunteer
Mr. Parker Fox volunteer
Mr. Richard Glynn Lions Club
Mr. John Mansfield volunteer
Mrs. Joan Mansfield volunteer
Mr. Anthony Milici volunteer
Mrs. Diane Rowley volunteer
Mr. Jay Webb volunteer
Ms Karen Wright Alcoa-Howmet
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 8
Risk Management Provisions
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Automobile Insurance
Commercial General Liability and Medical Malpractice
Crime Coverage
Directors and Officers Policy
Standing Committees
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Fiscal Year Start Feb 01 2013
Fiscal Year End Jan 31 2014
Projected Revenue $50,000.00
Projected Expenses $59,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Audit Documents
FY 2013 Audit2013
FY 2013 Audit2013
FY 2008 audit2008
IRS Letter of Exemption
Determination letter
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$284,593$276,161$241,038
Current Assets$236,451$228,019$192,896
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$284,593$276,161$241,038
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven $10,046
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Community Founation of Branford $10,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Seedlings Foundation $5,000
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Goal $59,000.00
Dates Nov 2013 to Jan 2014
Amount Raised To Date 46434 as of Aug 2013
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
CEO Comments
As the supply of food from the CT Food Bank plummeted, we had to develop a plan to obtain more food and raise more money to purchase the shortfall. We took a three pronged approach:
1. A board member was appointed to spearhead food drives and to encourage more groups to conduct them for our benefit. We were able to add support from sports team and churches and engage a local market to sell bags of holiday foods for donation to us.
2. Our fund raising had consisted of direct mailings to a known long term developed list of potential donors. To increase donations, a director of development was named, grant applications were made and our list was augmented by a careful inclusion of members of high potential groups.
3. One board member, and his wife, are assigned to professionalize the purchasing of food. They follow specials/sales, develop a relationship with several stores and purchase at great prices and large volume if worthwhile. For example, they may buy 2000# of juice if the price is right.
These steps allowed us to make incremental improvements and continue full service to needy families.
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 30 Harrison Ave.
Branford, CT 06405
Primary Phone 203 481-3663
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Wendy Cowles President
Board Chair Ms. Wendy Cowles
Board Chair Company Affiliation Volunteer


Related Information

Meet Basic Needs

A strong community not only meets its members’ basic needs but also works to create long-term solutions to their problems. Provide people with affordable housing, enough to eat and access to affordable health care and you enable them to envision a better future for themselves.