Prodisee Pantry earns Seal of Excellence accreditation from Standards for Excellence Institute

By John Underwood
Posted 3/18/22

SPANISH FORT — Prodisee Pantry held a press conference on Tuesday, March 15, to announce its accreditation as an ethics and accountability seal recipient from the Standards for Excellence …

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Prodisee Pantry earns Seal of Excellence accreditation from Standards for Excellence Institute

Posted

SPANISH FORT — Prodisee Pantry held a press conference on Tuesday, March 15, to announce its accreditation as an ethics and accountability seal recipient from the Standards for Excellence Institute.

"I think it is fitting that we announce this accreditation on World Social Work Day, which is celebrated each year on the third Tuesday in March," said Prodisee Pantry Executive Director Deann Servos.

"These men and women work tirelessly to ensure that the needs of the community are met and without them this would not have been possible."

Prodisee Pantry is the only non-profit organization in Baldwin County to receive the accreditation, Servos said, one of just 23 in the state of Alabama and one of 162 accredited organizations out of the 1.6 million 501(c)3 non-profits in the United States.

On average, Prodisee Pantry services approximately 150 to 180 families each week during its Tuesday food distribution and also holds a food distribution the second Saturday of every month in Stockton.

According to Prodisee Pantry's 2021 annual report, the organization distributed nearly 1.3 million pounds of groceries last year, with more than 10,000 family visits, including more than 1,200 new families representing over 27,000 individuals.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the organization has distributed over 4 million pounds of food in over 42,000 family visits.

"This accreditation shows the community our commitment to serving the people of Baldwin County as a non-profit," Servos said. "We are humbled and honored to be the only non-profit in Baldwin County to receive this accreditation."

The Standards for Excellence Institute evaluates fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility and accountability. Prodisee Pantry's programs and services, management, fundraising and financial practices were subjected to in-depth examination prior to earning accreditation.

The accreditation covers six areas of non-profit governance, operations and management:

  • Mission, strategy and evaluation.
  • Leadership: Board, staff and volunteers.
  • Legal compliance and ethics.
  • Finance and operations.
  • Resource development.
  • Public awareness, engagement and advocacy.

"This is a very painstaking process that has taken nearly five years to complete," said Prodisee Board President Mark Wolfe. "I just want to personally thank all of our volunteers and staff for working tirelessly to make this happen. This is a part of our commitment to making sure every dollar raised is spent in the best possible way to make a difference in our communities."

Board Vice President Don Rose said the process of earning the accreditation for Prodisee Pantry will serve as a model for other non-profits.

"It is the standard of making sure that we are meeting all the needs of our communities," Rose said.

Also on hand for the announcement were members of the board of directors and members of the volunteer advisory board, along with representatives from the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce and North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce.

"To say that we are proud of Prodisee Pantry for earning this accreditation is beyond words," said Eastern Shore Chamber President Casey Gay Williams. "We often say that our small businesses are the heart of our chambers, but it is the non-profits that provide our soul."

North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristina Pittman also expressed pride to call Prodisee Pantry a long-time supporting member of the chamber.

"Our area is growing, and we are happy to see that the needs of our families are being addressed responsibly," she said.

While she was unable to attend Tuesday's press conference Central Baldwin Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gail Quezada released a statement saying, "We couldn't be prouder of the excellent work that Prodisee Pantry provides our Baldwin County communities."

In Central Baldwin alone, over 1,800 families were served in 2021, Quezada said.

"It's a very humbling experience for families to ask for assistance, but the Pantry's army of volunteers provide hope with a smile," she said. "If you look at the statistics and keep in mind that this organization operates solely on donations, it is nothing short of amazing that the pantry has been able to manage the influx of families during the last two years.

"And they've done it all while maintaining a high level of professionalism and ethical practices, as shown by their recent accreditation in Standards for Excellence. We're incredibly fortunate to have Deann and her team in Baldwin County working to raise awareness and advocating unceasingly on behalf of our neighbors who experience hunger."

Since Prodisee Pantry opened in 2003, staff and volunteers have made nearly 200,000 family visits comprised of nearly half-a-million individuals.

"It's not just food, it's connections, referrals, encouragement and support as families navigate from poverty or crises to self-sufficiency," Servos said. "This community ministry runs on the energy of volunteers, the generous support of the community and prayer."

For more information call 251-626-1702 or visit prodiseepantry.org or volunteer@prodiseepantry.org.

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