Second Harvest Community Food Bank Blog
My Role as Executive Director
Having grown up in St. Joseph and now raising my children in the same community, I have gained a tremendous appreciation for all that our community has to offer. Having worked in a position for the past ten years where my focus has been on providing a service to Northwest Missouri, I have learned that my community is not just St. Joseph, but the many surrounding communities that make up the entire “Great Northwest”, as it’s fondly been branded in recent years.
As I’ve spent the past several months in an interim position at Second Harvest Community Food Bank, I have grown an even greater appreciation for our neighbors living in Northeast Kansas, an area our organization also serves.
For these reasons, I feel I have been blessed with my most recent opportunity to serve Second Harvest as its next executive director. I have a real understanding of how willing we are to help our neighbors in this region, and I am excited to help lead an organization that already has a solid foundation of staff members, engaged board members, compassionate donors, enthusiastic volunteers and amazing Partner Agencies. As an organization, we will continue to build on these strengths, and work to provide the best service we can to those who depend on the services we provide.
It will be interesting to see how our organization continues to evolve. Issues around food insecurity and poverty are continually changing, and have changed dramatically even in the past five years. Similarly, the challenges we face are not the same today as they will be in five years. Our organization has to be ready to evolve as we work to position our organization to meet the need as best we can.
I recently returned from a new director orientation meeting. There was much discussion around two different mindsets around the issue of hunger and those who volunteer and donate to hunger relief organizations. There are those who respond based on a message of charity, and the compassion of helping those less fortunate. And there are others who wish to identify root causes of poverty and hunger issues, in hopes of decreasing the need for food assistance that exists. Evidence suggests food security contributes to better mental and physical health, increased school and work performance and long-term benefits such as improved household dynamics and incomes. So as we work to find our organization’s role, likely somewhere in the middle of both lines of thinking, we know the work we are doing is helping make the communities in our 19 county region a better place to live, work and raise a family.
I am excited to begin my tenure as executive director for Second Harvest. I look forward over the next several months to visiting each of the more than 100 Partner Agencies we serve in the region. I look forward to spending time with our donors and volunteers, to better understand their passion behind our mission. And I look forward to learning more about the challenges those that we serve face on a daily basis. Every family we serve has their own unique challenges and the more we can do to better understand exactly what those look like, the closer we will get to building hunger-free communities in Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas.
A scary reality is that most of us are not far from having to deal with food insecurity in our own household. Unfortunately, we cannot thrive on an empty stomach. Second Harvest will work to improve the service we provide to our Partner Agencies throughout the region and through direct service programs such as Backpack Buddies and our Senior Box program. With all the challenges facing our community, we still have reason to be optimistic because together, we can be the solution to hunger.
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Congrats Chad! The board made an excellent choice from what I know out here on the coast. Looks like you are doing the right things in terms of sustaining your organization. Those of us with a bunch of notches on our belt are encouraging social enterprise and make a friend before looking for help. Check out my friend Larry Johnson's excellent book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising," and my web site for my takes on all this. Thought it was okay to go out on your blog, maybe a board member would buy the book also for sharing with other members and that wonderful Development woman there. Clive/
Comment by Roxanna Kerns on August 07, 2013 - 10:27 AM
So happy for Chad to have this opportunity. I am excited to see what he will do for Second Harvest.
Comment by Tammie Jones on August 06, 2013 - 12:37 PM
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