A Place To Turn (Natick, MA)


  • Name:Joanne Barry
  • Title:Executive Director

Work Address

  • Organization Name:A Place To Turn
  • Address:99 Hartford Street
    Natick, MA 01760
    United States

Work Phone

  • Main phone:508-655-8868
  • Main fax:508-653-7122

Work Web

User Email



  • Mission:
  • The mission of A Place To Turn is stated as follows: "A Place To Turn is committed to providing emergency food and clothing to our neighbors in the MetroWest community. We will serve those in need in an atmosphere of caring and mutual respect."

    Due to the tremendous need, we continue to operate in the thirty towns making up the broad geographical area known as MetroWest, offering critical hunger relief and hope to the community. Food relief is a lifeline for people. Even during the worst of times, food is of unwavering importance to all. A Place To Turn makes a worthwhile investment in the community, providing residents with their basic needs.

    In Fiscal Year 2015 (7/1/14 – 6/30/15) residents from over 30 cities and towns have utilized our services. The primary areas of need include Framingham, Natick, and Marlboro. Last year 3,573 families (11,610 individuals) received food in our pantry. A Place To Turn does not discriminate due to race, religion, gender.

  • Overview:
  • Families and individuals unable to meet their basic needs of food and clothing are referred by a network of social service agencies, health care providers, schools and clergy. Eighty six local agencies or programs referred clients to A Place To Turn this past year, an amazing collaboration between non-profits. The agencies that we work with the most (referring clients to our food pantry) are SMOC, FDTA, Advocates, and Natick Human Services / Natick Service Council. These and many other partners work with us to ensure that basic needs are being met as clients work with these non-profits to face the root cause of their situation. To establish need, the referral source assesses the presenting concerns and may offer additional assistance to address the underlying reasons for a food pantry referral. At the pantry, staff members work with individuals and families to clarify needs and collect data. As soon as this brief process is completed, our volunteers assist the family with the selection of food, focusing on items that are both nutritious and easy to prepare, following guidelines based on family size and the availability of items. All assistance is available free of charge. Families are helped once every two months and may return more frequently in the event that a critical need is unresolved as assessed by the referral source. During their visit to A Place To Turn they “shop” in our choice pantry and leave with approximately 12-14 days of food they and/or their families will eat. We are a model food pantry that is frequently consulted by others seeking to initiate similar choice efforts in their pantries.

    The impact of our assistance is most critical for families with children. Statistical data collected indicates that forty three percent of the people we help are seventeen years of age or younger. It is well documented that health and good nutrition are closely related and that a healthy diet has a positive impact on a child's life, especially in school. With our help low income clients can raise their children in a heart healthy way.

    We continue to exist as a partnership with the community. Volunteers are the heart of our organization. Over 45 community members work at least one day per week assisting our efforts at the A Place To Turn food pantry. Many work with needy individuals choosing their food, some pick up food for us, others sort through food donations and stock shelves. All volunteers are supervised by staff to ensure quality and consistency. There is very little turnover. We honor our volunteers each spring and hold a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. A Place To Turn relies on a caring community. We have many civic organizations that donate their time. High school students do community service here as well. The Boy Scout Food Drive in the fall, and the National Letter Carrier’s Food Drive in the spring offer opportunities to host additional volunteers. We spend a number of weeks after those food drives sorting large quantities of food donations and welcome additional help from civic organizations, businesses, youth groups, schools, etc. We find that when the youth of our community are exposed to volunteerism, they tend to continue their efforts to assist A Place To Turn in the fight against hunger. We are members of two Hunger Networks, working together to fight hunger and improve health in low income individuals.

    Comments heard from clients (by our intern) at A Place To Turn this year:

    "A Place To Turn deals with a diverse group of people and the food they provide is
    priceless. The staff is pleasant and they provide a great service. They make sure the family is fed. I really appreciate you asking my opinion."

    "I like that you offer healthy options. The fresh produce is amazing."

    "I like the ability to choose what I want. I'm appreciative of every bit of help I can get but other pantries hand you a bag of food that you may not like. Sometimes I even bring some of it back because I won't use it"

    "Choice is key. I would not be able to afford fresh fruits and vegetables in the store."

    “Families cannot move up the economic continuum to self sufficiency unless their basic needs are met”, says Jeffrey Hayward, VP of Public Policy at the UW of Mass Bay. Our goals are to continue to provide nutritious food to our neighbors in need. With support we can carry out our mission, knowing that effective organizations invest in their programs, systems and their people. Funding will allow us to continue to purchase fruits and vegetables at the beginning of each week to ensure all who are seeking assistance throughout that week are receiving fresh produce. This particular program is called “Eat Fresh!”

    Healthy food is important to all.

  • History:
  • A Place To Turn, an emergency food pantry, has been addressing the issue of hunger in our community since the late 1970's. Our founders, Joe and Edna Gillis, were residents of Natick troubled by the invisibility of poverty in the suburbs and knew there must be unmet needs. There were few services that struggling individuals and families could access. In 1980, along with other concerned local residents, they started a food pantry in their home, soon finding that the numbers of clients and community contributions were too much for a small space. Eventually the food pantry moved to its current space, where we have served those in need for close to 35 years. A Place To Turn has evolved from a fledgling entity in a basement of a private home to a stand alone non-profit incorporated organization. A Place To Turn is governed by a Board of Directors, which meets monthly and includes representatives from business, religious organizations, and members of the community. The Executive Director meets monthly with the Board and at additional times throughout the year, including the annual strategic planning meeting. Staff consists of four part time paid positions: Executive Director, Assistant Director, Site Coordinator, and an Outreach Coordinator (who works 10 hours per month). The current director was hired in 2004 after serving many years as Assistant Director. We are proud that staff members have been with APTT for many years, each coming to the organization as a volunteer. This passion and belief in our mission continues. Financial information is reported to the board monthly and an outside accountant ensures accuracy and allocation of restricted funding. The decision making process is fairly transparent, allowing management decisions as a team, and also encouraging suggestions from everyone in the organization.

  • Year established:1979
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:10
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:4


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID: