Happy New Year! The Food Bank accomplished so much in 2018. While the problem of hunger still remains, we were able to deliver almost 10 million meals, which we couldn’t have done without you. 2019 is shaping up to be a year of growth and realignment as we strive to meet the changing needs of our community.
After earning distinction as Food Bank of the Year in 2017, we spent a great deal of time in 2018 evaluating our delivery of services and resources. While food banks across the nation look to us as a model, we remain committed to continuous improvement to better serve our clients and our partner agencies.
We started thinking differently about the way we approach our work and the value we bring to every community we serve. Instead of focusing on independent programs like BackPack and Mobile Food Pantry, we wondered what would happen if we took a more holistic approach to the unique needs of each of our counties and worked closely with our partners there to determine the best use of our food resources.
We realized that, outside of food, our greatest resource is the relationships that we have built and fostered over many years throughout the region. Those relationships are many, and include food pantry coordinators, volunteers, donors, elected officials, school staff, businesses, other non-profit agencies, and the thousands who seek our services.
As a result, we combined key functions from Agency Services, Community Programs, and Advocacy & Education into a new Community Impact Department. This team will focus on all the ways we add value today and the opportunities we have to impact food distribution, education, advocacy and collaborations with our network of partners.
To that end, we will have three Programs and Partnerships Coordinators, each assigned to a specific part of our six-county service area. These team members will have deep knowledge of their assigned communities as well as a keen understanding of our services, which will allow them to identify opportunities for new and expanded programs and partnerships to meet their region’s specific needs.
We have also created a Health & Nutrition Department which will focus on the connection between hunger and health. This new department will identify opportunities to develop stronger connections with our health care providers across the region, support our network of partners with nutrition education resources, and better serve our clients who suffer disproportionately from chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
I anticipate that many people will not find an organizational restructure very exciting, but to me it’s a prime example of how our Food Bank is constantly looking at ways we can best steward the resources entrusted to us to have the greatest impact on the most people. I am optimistic about this new approach to our work and what it will mean for the communities we serve in years to come. Thank you for supporting our work in the past and during this exciting time of growth.
Natasha R. Thompson
President & CEO