Nancy and Dan Somma only thought they were retiring when they moved to Florida in 2014. Soon after they arrived, however, they went to Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe, and learned that Our Lady's Pantry was searching for someone to help write grants.
Dan and Nancy Somma work behind the scenes writing grants for Our Lady's Pantry. Their efforts have yielded tens of thousands of dollars to the Pantry for food and other necessities!
“I saw the Pantry ad requesting professional fundraisers in the Parish bulletin that Sunday,” says Nancy. “My background was in direct mail fundraising at Consumer Reports Magazine. And Dan's background was in sales.
“We just looked at one another,“ says Nancy, both thinking the same thing. “We thought maybe we could help. But we had been so happy to leave that work behind. We hesitated initially. But not for long. We soon called Tom Bullaro, co-director of the Pantry with his wife Anita, to set up a meeting, and the rest is history.”
“The most difficult part of this task has turned out to be finding foundations willing to give grants to a non-profit like the Pantry,” says Dan. “We are now in the process of uncovering possible new donors by our own trial and error, and using a Catholic Foundation database that we purchased.”
“The timing was perfect for those of us at Our Lady's Pantry,” says Tom Bullaro, co director of the Pantry. “Through the efforts of Nancy and Dan, we have received a stunning $20,000 from Publix Charities, $10,000 from the Couch Foundation, $1,000 from the St. Petersburg Diocese, $10,000 from the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, and $50 from Sam's Club. Some of these donations helped us to purchase our walk-in refrigerator, freezer, and refrigerated trunk. But much of this money purchased literally tons of nutrient-rich foods for our families with the fewest resources. With consistent well-balanced diets, we are hopeful that families can be healthy and children succeed in school and in their daily lives.
Bullaro points out that all of these donations are a direct result of Nancy and Dan working in their home at their convenience. In addition to writing grants, Dan enjoys working at the Pantry unloading the food truck on Tuesdays and Fridays, and loading up family cars with food on Saturday mornings.