By: Ira Keltz

Tags: community , community partnerships

Partners food drive for the Pine Street Inn

Our commitment to the community at Partners HealthCare runs broad and deep, and it starts with our employees. One example: our annual food drive to benefit the Pine Street Inn. Partners is proud to be the Pine Street Inn's largest single corporate food drive sponsor.

Ira Keltz, who works in Partners Information Systems, shares his experience heading up the drive, which he founded, over the past 10 years.

Working at Partners, I’ve had the privilege of being part of a workforce that is doing some pretty remarkable things like providing the highest quality care to patients and committing to reducing health care costs, to incorporating cutting-edge technology that is keeping patients connected to their doctors right from their homes.

It is truly an amazing place.

While some of these accomplishments are more visible, others may not be so obvious, and I appreciate the opportunity to share one I am passionate about.

Ten years ago, I fell on challenging times personally and financially. I was struggling to make ends meet due to an unanticipated change in circumstance. I realized just how common an experience that was; there are people who are mere months away from being homeless.

Because of my own experience and struggle, I was compelled to consider how I might be able to help others who found themselves facing similar challenges. I knew I wanted to make a difference and have an impact, and I called on my fellow Partners employees to join me in this goal.

We started the first annual Partners Food Drive to benefit the Pine Street Inn in 2003, and it has continued ever since. We have grown from one or two collection sites to over a dozen across Partners. Our dramatic growth shows that when Partners employees are given the opportunity to help others, they generously do so.

Word has spread about the drive and I now receive emails as early as November to find out when it will begin!

Jack Nolan, the Acquisition and Distribution Manager at the Pine Street Inn, has been my partner in the project since he started at Pine Street six years ago. Jack remembers some of the details I forget:

“My first pick up, we arrived to find forty-three boxes of food; this year’s collection provided a total of ninety-six boxes totaling around 2,112 pounds of food. This has been an incredible increase.”

It’s thanks to the hard work of Jack and his team at Pine Street that all of our efforts at Partners are put to good use. Food from the drive is distributed in various ways; it is incorporated into the 2,100 meals Pine Street serves daily, or it is used as part of a food kit distributed to guests who have moved from the shelter to permanent housing.

See more photos from the drive on our Facebook page.